1415hrs, 18th February 2004, Fremantle Cemetery "All Hands on Deck" The shrill call of the Boatswains Pipe rang out via Ian McCutcheon and all those assembled in the church rose and stood as a mark of respect as the pallbearers escorted our late shipmate ex C/OA George Smith to the place of honour within the church, where his loved ones could pay their last respects and celebrate his life. 

    George was born in Geraldton, Western Australia on the 27/5/33, one of 11 children within a family that had a strong Military background. No doubt this influenced George to carry on the service but he broke the family Army tradition and joined the RAN in December 1950. After completing Recruit training at HMAS Cerberus he continued on to HMAS Albatross and trained to be a Naval Airman. This then set the direction for the remainder of his naval career. His exceptional skills and dedication were recognized because of his rapid advancement, and he was recommended to become a Mechanician, and once again continued his rapid progress to become a Chief Ordinance Artificer He had great tolerance and training skills and many young sailors and midshipmen benefited from his direction. During his career he served in HMA Ships Vengeance, Sydney, Quickmatch, Voyager & Duchess, and shore establishments Cerberus, Albatross and Watson. 

    In 1954 while on leave in Western Australia, he met his soul mate, Geraldine, and she became his wife for the remainder of his life. They became the proud and loving parents of Arthur and Lynette, and the grandparents of Stacey and Michael, whom George absolutely adored. As with his Naval career, George was just as dedicated to his family with caring and pride, always wanting the best for them and future planning to ensure they were secure. 

    "Smouch" also cared for his shipmates, and he had a great mate "Squizzle" Taylor who was nearly his identical twin. "Squizzie" needed to be some where important but had been drafted, so "Smouch" went on the draft for him! This "substitute" went on for three weeks until one of them signed the wrong name, then all hell broke loose, but the situation was so embarrassing for the Navy that nothing further came of it. This gives some idea off the calibre and loyalty of this man! 

    The Memorial Service was carried out by Captain Trevor Ewen, of the Salvation Army and was a quiet and dignified affair. There was a good size gathering of family and friends with quite solid support from ex Fleet Air Arm shipmates to farewell George. An emotional Family Eulogy was given by George's brother, Gregory, followed by the reading of a beautiful and moving poem, read by George's God daughter, Susan. This very personal poem had been written when George was a very young sailor, to his beloved Geraldine Moving on, an in‑depth and personal R.A.N Eulogy was delivered by China Hammal followed by the presentation of a White Ensign to Geraldine by L/Cdr Jeff  Wake. 

    "Smouch" served his country well and was recognized by his Medals displayed on his Ensign draped coffin The Australian Active Service Medal for Malaysia and Vietnam, United Nations Medal for Korea, General Service Medal for Borneo, Vietnam Logistic Support Medal, Australian Service Medal for Far East Strategic Reserve and the Naval General Service Medal for Japan. 

    The first stage of "Smouch's" last voyage began with his coffin moving away to the words and music of Rod Stewarts "Sailing", which created much display of emotion. The final part of this last voyage will be when Chief Petty Officer George "Smouch" Smith's ashes are scattered at sea by the R.A.N, and he returns to the oceans he loved so well. 

    At the request of his family the Last Post was not played, but the ceremony was concluded with the Boatswains Pipe "Carry On"! 

Farewell old shipmate, may all your future sailings be through eternal smooth seas. 

Lest We Forget

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