William Jeffrey Smart ((Eulogy (17th November 1915 - 27th July 2006))
We are here today to give thanks for the life of William Jeffrey Smart, but first our sympathy to Eileen, David, Leslie, Maria and the family in the lose of a loved one. I hope it is some consolation for them to know that we, and many unable to be here today, share with them the loss of a trusted, respected, well-loved friend and neighbour.
‘Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God’. If this is true for anyone it is certainly true for Bill as he was always affectionately called. He was a somewhat independent but a very courteous and dignified gentleman. His infectious smile warmed the hearts of all he came in contact with and endeared them to him.
He was born in London and went to Blackfriars School. On leaving he had a number of odd jobs before being called up. He joined the
Black Watch and then volunteered for the No3 Commando. He went on a number of raids including the D Day landings. He fought through France and Germany and was involved in the liberation of Belsen Prison of War Camp. He experienced the horrors of war, the devastation and destruction. War for him was a reality, not as for most people of today, a piece of history. We thank him for his service.
After the war he worked as a plumber for the London County Council for many years before joining the Daily Mirror as a maintenance man before finally retiring.
To all his work Bill brought a great depth of experience, a capacity to soak up work, considerable skill, great good humour and was held in the highest esteem by all who worked with and for him. He set himself high standards, lived up to them and taught others by his example.
Whilst visiting his mother he rather liked the young lady next door and in 1945 he married Eileen at
Church, Southend Crescent, and embarked on over sixty-one years of happy marriage.
Throughout his long life he gave of himself to others, a quiet but very modest and caring man; his concern was for those in need and no task was too onerous or too menial if it helped another. That old adage, “we shall pass through this world just but once, any goodness or kindness we can do let us do it now” was lived out by Bill to the full.
He had a number of hobbies. A keen sportsman, he played football until he was forty-two, but why a man of such discretion supported Spurs may be hard to understand! He liked anything practical and enjoyed making things especially with wood. He was keen on music and was a talented mouth-organ player. Although very much a home bird he did holiday in Malta and Austria and went to Caravan sites in England. He was very fond of animals, especially dogs.
But his real love was the family. He was devoted to Eileen, his children David, Leslie and Maria were an immense source of joy to him and he never missed the opportunity of spoiling his four grandchildren and his great grandson.
In later years his health deteriorated but this he bore with great courage and fortitude and we give thanks that God in his wisdom has spared him from great pain and suffering in this world and taken him into His Heavenly Kingdom to share with Him His presence, His peace and His Love.
So in sadness there is also joy, because we know that he, who served others here, has now passed to that life where his service is still being used in an increasingly more wonderful way.
Death is no end, no barrier; it is but the beginning, the gateway to Eternal Life.
Bishop Brent likened it to saying goodbye to a loved one as a liner leaves port. We wave goodbye, perhaps shed a tear, till the ship disappears over the horizon. Shortly after others, on a different shore, see the ship in the distance and shout joyfully ‘here she comes’ as they look forward to greeting her. So it is with Bill, we say goodbye for the present. His parents, family and friends, who have gone before, welcome him into their company and into the love and presence of Jesus Christ.
Bill, I know, would like us all to remember the happy times and occasions when he touched our lives.
Friends, do not grieve that I have gone.
My body’s dead, my soul lives on.
Please do not have a saddened face.
I am no longer in this place.
The God who gave me birth and life
Has rescued me from earthly strife.
To dwell with Him in heaven above
Surrounded by His peace and love.
So do not grieve that I have gone.
But praise the Lord; my soul lives on.
For the life of William Jeffrey Smart and for the goodly example that will live in our memories, we thank God and let us do so not only in word but in deed by following his example of loving and serving others.
The world is poorer for his passing but many are richer for having known him.
A POEM BY REG SMITH - No. 3 COMMANDO
A Wife Remembers
A word in the House, a stroke of a Pen
the country disbanded a body of Men
with fighting finesse and fitness supreme
the créme de la créme wore the berets of Green.
Their training was tough, it had to be so
how to fight with a knife, how to kill with a blow
Solerno, Bardia, Dieppe, St. Nazaire, when impossible
odds, the Commandos were there.
Their raids so successful that Hitler said
"If captured, no prisoners - I want these men dead!
Too late he discovered his men were not keen
to Battle with those wearing berets of Green.
On D-Day Sword Beach they were to the fore
as they jumped from their boats and made for the Shore
their contempt for the Nazis was plain to be seen
for they wore not steel helmets but the berets of Green.
When it was over, the fighting no more
the first they disbanded the Green beret 'Corp'
who went back to their shire, their town, their Glen
a body of gentle self disciplined men.
Yet all these years on they still meet, it is said
to talk - toast their Queen, and remember their Dead
who’s memorial stands at the foot of the Ben
where they trained for the right to be Green beret men.
For our Freedom of movement our freedom speech
to those who came after the gospel I preach
A word in the House, a stroke of the pen cannot
wipe out our debt to those Green beret men.