Gordon Henry Smith, 95

Born and raised in London, England, Gordon started working at a very young age. He was 12 years old when the war started and he began working as a civil defense boy helping put injured persons on stretchers and into ambulances. When Gordon turned 14, he became a messenger boy for the war, keeping everyone informed on what bombings took place and where, helping wherever he was needed. Soon after he was issued a pump hose to help extinguish fires caused by the war. During this time, families were encouraged to keep their bathtubs filled with water in case their home was hit and the 30ft. rubber hose was needed to put out the fire. He did this until he joined the Navy at 17 years of age. During his three years in the Navy as a young seaman, Gordon was involved in many training drills and food deliveries between the US and Germany before he left the Navy at 20 years of age.
When living in London, Gordon had sustained an injury to his foot and was healing at the hospital when he decided to go out for a walk in London Park. There he saw a young woman picking flowers which was something people didn’t do in London Park. Fascinated by her, he offered to hide her flowers under his jacket so the gatekeeper wouldn’t catch her. He discovered she was from Germany and had wanted to move to London as a teacher but her papers didn’t pass because many were burned in the war. She worked as a nanny. He also learned that she was one of the women awaiting food from the US during the war from one of the Navy vessels he was working on. This woman would soon become his wife of 68 years.
As a young married couple, Gordon’s wife grew fearful of his safety and they decided to move to Canada in 1954 where he worked as an air force firefighter in Quebec. They then moved to Ontario before finally finding a home in Hubbards, Nova Scotia in 1965 where he retired from the air force and became the deputy fire marshal of Nova Scotia. Here he would become an instrumental contributor to the safety of all Nova Scotians. Gordon spent many years training firefighters across the province and was the driving force to have inspections on every hospital in Nova Scotia. He initiated doors needing to be on electric holdbacks, automatic sprinkler installations, and the tops of hospital curtains being well ventilated so water from the sprinklers could get through in the wake of a fire. Gordon brought approximately 50 hospitals up to code and maintained them for over 10 years. During this time, Gordon raised 5 children alongside his wife. He was a lifeguard, scuba instructor, and avid sailor who loved to travel the world in his boat, often by himself. He now has 8 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren who he is very proud of and loves sharing his life stories with.
Gordon lives an active life and is quite the intellect, often writing stories of his past often. His dream was to ride a helicopter and revisit the land he grew to love alongside his wife and children. To see the province he loves, from the sky, was an absolute dream come true for Gordon thanks to our friends YES TV.

Special Thanks – YES TV

Photography – Kelsi Captures