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An extraordinary war tale for Anzac Day

A Seymour man has more cause than most to reflect on the price of war.

CHALPAT SONTI April 23, 2014 3:58am

Seymour resident Robert Smith with a drawing of his home town of Barnard Castle.


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On Friday, Anzac Day, we will commemorate our fallen from all wars, but there will be a special focus on the centenary of World War I, the Great War, the ‘‘war to end all wars’’ and the scene of our nation-defining battle at Gallipoli.

One Seymour resident has as much to think about as perhaps anyone in the world with a connection to the battlefield ... Robert Smith’s five uncles all perished in World War I, and it was possibly only Royal intervention that saved his own father from the same fate.

Yet Mr Smith, his two brothers and, incredibly, his father all played their part in World War II as well. CHALPAT SONTI traces their remarkable story.

It’s a plot straight out of a Hollywood script. Five brothers killed in action, and the sixth rescued from the trenches by decree.

Sound familiar? Yes, if you’ve watched Saving Private Ryan. But for Mr Smith, this isn’t a tale from a movie. This is real life. With a bit of a television twist. Yet fact is far more incredible than fiction.

The BBC, commemorating 100 years since the beginning of ‘‘the war to end all wars’’, recently featured the travails of the Smith family during the Great War. They were one of just three British families who lost five sons in battle.

READ THIS REMARKABLE STORY IN THIS WEEK’S TELEGRAPH

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