From the poverty of London’s East End to the Royal Navy, “Smudge’s Story” tells of the early life of Fred Smith. In his own words, Fred tells of his part in the battle against First World War U-boats, of life as a stoker in a tiny ship tossed by huge Atlantic waves, and of the terrified faces of those he rescued from icy seas. Fred describes his fears, his joys and his growing love for his sweetheart back home.
He tells of Sinn Fein riots, the freezing Baltic, the sweltering Mediterranean, the Black Sea and of war and revolution. Fred and his shipmates encounter snipers, wild dogs and desperate women; and witness thousands fleeing the advancing Red Army in Odessa, where their ship is helplessly locked in ice.
How does a ship’s stoker, an ordinary man, cope in such epic times of death and suffering?Unread for many years in the attic, this story is now brought to life. Edited and published by his family, it presents a unique and fascinating account of the worst of times in our country’s history.