Veteran Navy hero dies weeks after medal award
5:00am Friday 14th March 2014 in News
A FAMILY has paid tribute to a great-grandfather and war hero who died last week.
Reginald Smart, 94, was awarded the Arctic Star medal last month but succumbed to pneumonia and liver failure last Wednesday at the Great Western Hospital.
He spent more than 24 years in the Royal Navy and served all over the world, including Korea and the Middle East, as well as serving with the Arctic Convoys during the Second World War.
Born in Devizes, Reginald joined the Navy when he was just 15. While on leave he met his wife Mollie, who died several years ago, at a dance and they married just before the end of the war in 1945.
When he left the Navy in 1960, the couple moved to Wroughton where Reginald spent the rest of his working life at R A Lister.
Son Anthony, 67, said: “He was very much into his sport and really liked his cricket. Before joining the Navy he played for Devizes Cricket team and played for them again when he left, as well as getting the odd game when on leave. I think he played for the team into his 50s.
“He also played for the Navy football team throughout his time with them.”
The Arctic Star Medal was presented to Reginald, who had an unblemished record in the Navy, at his care home in Wroughton by Rear-Admiral Nick Wilkinson, surrounded by friends and family.
Tony said: “The Navy played a very big part in his life. His memory wasn’t so good towards the end but he could recall his time with them.
“For the presentation of the medal we had a hat made for him and as soon as we put it on him he knew it wasn’t his. It was good he received his medal before he died and it was a very proud day for the family.
“Family was also very important to him and he was a very good grandfather.”
Reginald and his wife Mollie, who was known as Paddy because she originated from Northern Ireland, had two children, Anthony and Elizabeth. They also had four grandchildren Marcus, Damian, Sarah and Mark, as well as eight great-grandchildren.
Reginald’s funeral will be held on March 19 at Kingsdown Crematorium. Family flowers only but anyone who wishes to make a donation can do so to the Alzheimers Society via Hillier Funeral Services on Victoria Road.