The Milne/Smeed Connection

Family Stories Past and Present

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A Favourite Photo

52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks

Week 2 – Favourite Photo

I chose this photo because it is the only one that I have of our whole family unit. We have many family photos but it seems that one of us was always out of the frame behind the camera. This photo was taken in the fall of 1955 by my cousin, Ida Milne, from Fort William. She dropped in to surprise her aunts and uncles in Listowel while on a trip with a friend. I vaguely remember her visit but I didn’t actually see the photo until I went on a return visit  in September 2000. Ida’s mother, Aunt Dorothy, had prepared a package of photos for me and this was among them.

Not only is this a photo of the family… Mum, Dad, Elizabeth (age 4) and me (age 10), it is a reminder of our home as it was on that day. We don’t have many indoor photos from that era. Usually we went outdoors to take advantage of daylight.

The house was one of the many “wartime” houses built for returning veterans in the late 1940s. We are sitting in the corner of the sitting room with the kitchen in the background. Visible are our original Frigidaire refrigerator and the buffet of the dinette set my parents bought when we first moved into the house on Jefferson Street.  On the left side of the photo is the telephone… no dial,  just an operator on the end of the line asking “Number, please?”. The phone sits on a table that I still have in my possession.

Mum smiled for the camera; Dad was his usual reticent self; I looked rather serious with my hair pulled back in a severe ponytail; Elizabeth, cute with her bangs and wearing a dress, seemed like she wasn’t too sure about having her photo taken. Great memories to have, thanks to a surprise visit all those years ago.



Bet, Charlie, Jane and Elizabeth – Fall 1955


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January 1946

The following is another excerpt from my Mum’s story of our first winter in Canada.

A Lovely Surprise

In mid-January we were invited to a social evening in the village hall. It turned out to be a surprise Welcome Home party for Charlie, Jane and me. After a delicious supper we were called to the front and were presented with a number of gifts. We got a roasting pan – white enamel with red trim, three matching saucepans, kitchen utensils such as an egg lifter, potato masher, long-handled spoon and a long-handled slotted spoon. There was also a lovely pair of flannelette sheets – cream with blue trim. Jane was presented with a rocking chair which she immediately took to the middle of the hall where she sat down and started rocking. I don’t think that the people of Trowbridge could have given her a better gift. It was hard to convince Jane to move her chair to the side of the room to enable the grownups to dance. After the presentation Muriel Hamilton read a welcome speech/poem that she had written. We had a lovely evening meeting people from the village and surrounding farms.


Editor’s Note:

These pages of the booklet were followed by several more pages signed by our new neighbours.

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They Are Remembered

Harry Thomas Smeed was the son of James Smeed and Amy Simmons. He was twenty years old when he died 23 July 1900 at Pretoria, South Africa of enteric fever while serving in the British Army during the Boer War.

Arthur James Tester, the son of Thomas Tester and Elizabeth Scott died on 3 September 1916 at the Somme, France.

J. Lance Smeed, the son of John Smeed and Clarissa Burchett died on 28 September 1918 while serving with the Canadian Expeditionary Force near Cambrai, France.

Arthur James Tester

Grave of J. Lance Smeed


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Audrey Madelaine Smeed (1888 – 1970)

Audrey Madelaine Smeed was born in East Grinstead, Sussex on 23 June 1888 and died in Dormansland, Surrey on 27 October 1970. She was the eldest of the seven children of Charles Smeed 2 and Ann Maria Burt.

The 1891 census shows Audrey living with her parents at Blackwell Farm, East Grinstead. In 1901 the family had grown and Audrey lived in Burstow, Surrey with her parents, one of her brothers and two sisters. By 1911 the family of parents and all seven children lived at Newchapel, Surrey where Charles was a gamekeeper.

After Charles retired he and his wife lived at Orchard Cottage, Dormansland, Surrey. As the only daughter who never married, Audrey lived most of her life with her parents. After their deaths in the early 1940s Audrey remained at Orchard Cottage on her own. She was later joined there by her brother, Percy. Their sister, Doris, also resided with them from time to time.

Percy died in 1969 and Audrey passed away on 27 October 1970 at the age of eighty-two.

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Anita Zehbe Smeed

Anita Eva Margot Zehbe (1927 – 2017) was born 23 August 1927 in Berlin, Germany. She was the daughter of Berthold Paul Zehbe and Martha Anna Elisabeth Broy.

Anita married Arthur Charles Smeed on 24 July 1951 in Dormansland, Surrey, England.

Anita and Arthur had two sons, Alan and Michael, three grandchildren and one greatgrandchild. Arthur died in 2001 a few months before their 50th Wedding Anniversary.

Although Anita was in failing health recently, she rallied to celebrate her 90th birthday in late August. Aunt Anita passed away late Sunday, 17 September 2017.

Anita Zehbe Smeed