FREDERICK ELLIS SMITH AND EMILY BOWDITCH

I remember Frederick Ellis Smith as a kind and gentle man. My last memories of him were really at the time when he was dying of cancer.

He was a short man with a soft Yorkshire Accent. He had a moustache which was yellow from smoking and he used to give me tea in a saucer, so that it would be cool.

He had been married twice. His first marriage was shrouded in mystery and no-one really seemed to know much about it. His first wife was named Anne and she had passed away on 16th November 1921. There were several children from the first marriage. No one was even sure which country the family had lived - possibly South Africa or South Australia. (He would just say "SA")

Fred was born in Dewsbury, Yorkshire in 1875. His father had died and I'm not sure what happened to his mother. He was brought up by his grandparents, Mark and Charlotte Senior.

He had a quick intelligence and was educated at a grammar school and I believe this was funded by Uncles.

In the missing years, he served a lot of time in the Merchant Navy and became a chef and confectioner. He was known to have worked in all three capacities. He supposedly spent quite a few years in South Africa and may have worked on the Bullowayo railway construction.

In 1924 he is known to have arrived in New Zealand, more than likely as a crew member on a ship, rather than as a passenger. He met Emily Maud Elizabeth Bowditch either on the trip there or shortly thereafter. They were married in 1925 at the Church of Christ in Auckland.

Emily's father was reputed to have been a tailor and details of her mother remain largely unknown. I understand that she was brought up in a children's home. She knew that she had sisters but not much else. She met her sisters when she was in her teens and travelled to New Zealand as an Emigrant with one of them.

She and Fred, although they only married in 1925, adopted a child in April of that year - Hope Dorothy Ritchie who then was called Hope Smith and then later Dorothy Smith. They lived on a farm in the Bay of Islands in New Zealand and by all accounts that was never a success. Freddie used to joke that all of the chickens that he bought were roosters and all of the sheep had been rams.

In 1927 Emily returned to the UK with Dorothy (still named Hope, according to the passenger list) to Stratford Upon Avon. Fred returned by a different route and on a different ship.

They lived in Stratford Upon Avon for quite a few years and then moved to Totton near Southampton, Hampshire.

Emily is remembered as a thin woman and had a pretty smile. She loved to breed spaniels and her favourite dog was called Sally. She was a keen knitter and good at it.

She was also a smoker and a party trick was to turn the cigarette around with her tongue so that the lighted end was then inside her mouth. She would then turn it round the right way. She had a tall tale that she loved to tell - that Freddie patted her on the back once, while she was doing this trick and she swallowed the lighted cigarette.

She and Fred always told tall tales to entertain and they had told each other so many times that they were younger than they actually were that Fred was quite surprised and annoyed to find out that he could have collected his old age pension a couple of years earlier as even he had forgotten how old he truly was.

On their return to England the had two more children. Both of them were their natural biological children.