Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada

October 25, 2005 16:07 ET

VAC: Smokey Smith Honoured in Italy with Commemorative Plaque

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 25, 2005) - A commemorative plaque was officially installed today in Cesena, Italy, to honour Canadian Veteran Ernest "Smokey" Smith, VC, CM, CD. Smokey, who passed away on August 3, 2005, was Canada's last surviving recipient of the prestigious Victoria Cross, Canada's (and the Commonwealth's) highest award for valour.

"In August, Canada mourned the loss of a true Canadian hero," said the Honourable Albina Guarnieri, Minister of Veterans Affairs. "With the installation of this plaque, we remember Smokey's contribution to our lives, to our history and to our future."

Born on May 3, 1914 in New Westminster, British Columbia, Smokey enlisted in the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada in March, 1940. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his extraordinary actions, near the Italian town of Cesena, on the night of 21st_22nd October 1944. Sixty years later, in October 2004, Mr. Smith was honoured at a remembrance event in Cesena with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque. Today, that plaque was permanently installed on the wall of Cesena City Hall.

Smokey was the Patron of 2005 the Year of the Veteran. He gave a great deal of his time and energy to representing the Canadian Forces, Veterans, his province and his country at countless historic and commemorative events across Canada and around the globe. He enjoyed talking with young people and was an inspiration to Canadian youth because he embodied such Canadian values as service to one's country and the meaning of citizenship. His contribution to the commemoration of Canadian Veterans and their families was unequalled.

Canada entered the Second World War in 1939. More than one million Canadians served in the Second World War and approximately 47,000 gave their lives.

2005 is the Year of the Veteran. Celebrate. Honour. Thank. Remember. Teach.

Contact Information

  • Veterans Affairs Canada
    Janice Summerby
    Media Relations Advisor
    (613) 992-7468
    or
    Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
    Corey Hobbs
    Director of Communications
    (613) 947-4908