Monday, 2 April 2007

Chapter 41: After The War

Percy Smith married Ella Gertrude Pearson
on 25 October 1921
at Heyfield Methodist Church.

They travelled to the Blue Mountains for their honeymoon

Their first child, Nancy Margaret was born on 20 October 1922, seen here in the yard of “La Boisselle”, Dandenong.

From a letter from his father-in-law, Joseph Henry Pearson, to Mr Frank Dedman. Heyfield 19 Nov 1922.

"After posting my other letter to you, I remembered omitting to give you Ella's name. Mrs A.P.Smith, "La Boiselle", Melbourne Road, Dandenong. Her husband's full name is Albert Percival Smith (called Percy). They have adopted the French name for their house. The original is a village in France where Percy was stationed whilst at the front. If I did not mention it previously, he is a contractor and has had some rather large jobs on the Melbourne-Gippsland road from Garfield towards town, also at Lyndhurst & is completing one at Beaconsfield now. All under the Country Roads Board. His brother & partner at present lives at Beaconsfield. On 20th October a little daughter arrived (their first child) and everything turned out well. Ella has been back in Dandenong for a couple of weeks or more. Ida is still with her. They are all coming up to Heyfield at Christmas. Ida will remain at Dandenong so as to accompany Ella and the child up about 18th Dec.
(23rd) A letter from them today states Percy has just acquired another contract, the one at Beaconsfield is about done and one in progress at Koo-wee-rup they have been asked to suspend & get on with the new one. "

Ross Stuart followed on 3 August 1925

And Alison Elizabeth on 19 September 1928

Nancy, Alison and Ross

Percy ran a road-building contracting business with his brother, Bill, pictured here with his wife Eva and son Russell. They had a team of horses.
Bill Smith, with wife Eva and son Russell

Eventually he worked as a grader-driver with the Country Roads Board in Victoria. He helped build the Great Ocean Road along Victoria's southern coast, and during World War Two, the road from Alice Springs to Darwin. This took him away from his family for long periods of time.

Link to a fabulous website about the history of the building of the Great Ocean Road:

Construction of Great Ocean Road, Mount Defiance, 1922
Construction of Great Ocean Road, Fairhaven, 1921

Website about the construction of the Alice - Darwin road:

Albert Percival - Perce - Smith, "Gargoo" to his grandchildren, died on 17 September 1966 in Melbourne, aged 75.

This is how I remember him:

[insert mum wedding pic]

Helen Gleeson, Mum and Gargoo on Mum and Dad's wedding day. 31 December 1955

Gargoo was a good man whom I remember with great affection. My clearest memory of him is that he would take me down to Caulfield station when I was little to watch trains (especially steam trains) go through. He was a gentle man, who never fought or argued with anyone. Neither did he talk about the war. He mentioned to Mum once that he had been at Passchendaele and Ypres. He only started attending Anzac Day services later in his life. He had one friend that Mum remembers him visiting, a man named Toogood (probably Gunner Frederick “MM” Toogood - 11906 - of the 4th Field Artillery Brigade, enlisted 20 Aug 1915, returned to Australia 29 May 1919)

Gargoo didn’t win any medals or decorations. He was one of 7000 of the 50 000 men who went to Gallipoli who served throughout the entire war. He apparently saved someone’s life once when, contrary to rules; he let an officer ride his horse, while he walked. He was a solicitor named Ramsay (probably Lieutenant Alan Hollick Ramsay 2nd Divisional Artillery Column, enlisted 21 July 1915, returned to Australia 27 April 1919)

In March 1967 the PM, Harold Holt announced that a commemorative medallion to be issued to those who had served on the Gallipoli peninsula. It is inscribed on the back with his name and regimental number.

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