Members of the WFA will be saddened to learn of the death of Ted Smith who died in April 2015. For those of us who were involved in the Association since its inception will know how much Ted contributed to its success and development especially in its early days.
Ted was, at that time, based in Brussels where he had a flourishing international marketing company when he joined the WFA and was an early enthusiast on our tours when John Giles was our guide. As a professional photographer Ted took large numbers of shots that included the many veterans who were able to join us in those days then produced fascinating picture books commemorating the tours. It was not long before Ted’s kind and generous nature was further offered to the WFA. In his Brussels office, packed with state of the art computers and equipment, the first Bulletins were put together and on his printing press, in a converted stable below, they were printed and compiled. The next significant and lasting contribution made by Ted was the redesign of the logo. The first logo did not have the second banner ‘Remembering’
that Ted added as well as improving the design and appearance of the poppies. With the new design agreed and approved by the Committee Ted then kindly produced a wide range of printed material free of charge, from posters to headed notepaper and publicity material to Christmas cards. It greatly assisted in giving the WFA a more professional image and one that lasts to this day.
As the Branches were established and began to develop, Ted agreed to be our first European Co-ordinator that greatly assisted in the establishment of new branches with additional members from a number of European countries. Ted became a Vice Chairman of the Association and served as its Chairman at a particularly difficult time that through his stewardship ensured the continuity and prosperity of the Association that continues today.
Most members of the WFA will, of course, know Ted from his wonderful books, ‘Salient Points’, ‘A Walk Around Plugstreet’, ‘Poets & Pals of Picardy’, ‘A Haven in Hell’
and ‘In the Shadow of Hell’. The books were incubated in Brussels where the first stories written with Tony Spagnoly were produced but there were not published until a few years later. His friendship with Tony was particularly strong; they had an enduring love of The Great War and their books are as popular today as they have been since they were first published.
Ted was a great collector; he had a fantastic collection of books, Märklin boats from the Victorian and Edwardian era, clockwork toys, German decorative porcelain pipes, all things from The First World War and much, much more. His breadth and depth of knowledge meant that a few hours in Ted’s company sped past in the blink of an eye.
Ted was wonderfully supported in his work, life and love of The Great War by his wife, Corinne. In addition Ted had been married previously and our sympathies are also extended to all his children who now live across the globe.
One of Ted’s great loves was Plugstreet so it is fitting that Corinne, and his family, will bring his ashes to be scattered in Ploegsteert Wood — supported by his great friends Claude and Nelly, at l’Auberge de Ploegsteert where he spent so many happy hours.
The Western Front Association owes a great debt of gratitude to Ted Smith, a generous man who is very sadly missed by all of us who had the privilege to know him. Ted and Corinne looked after me and did so much for me that I can never adequately repay. Ted’s kindness changed my life and for that I will be forever grateful.