Fonds 367 Joseph Thomas (Digby) Smith

fonds-367

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1919-1921. — 7 photographs.


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Biographical Sketch

Joseph Thomas Smith, known as Joseph Digby Smith in Canada, was born in 1892 in Warrington, Lancashire, UK. In 1913 he emigrated to Canada, probably arriving in Quebec. He worked in a bank until the First World War. On September 24, 1914 he became part of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, in the 3rd Brigade Canadian Field Artillery, eventually being promoted to Captain. He fought at Ypres, the Sommes and Paschendale. He met his future wife, Dorothy Margaret Rooke, from Birmingham, UK, during a training period or on leave, and they were married in Birmingham in April, 1916. Joseph survived the war and his son, James Andrew Digby Smith was born in May, 1918, in Birmingham.

Digby was demobbed in 1919 and sailed for Canada on a troop ship June 12, 1919. For a short time he worked at a bank in St. Catherines, Ontario, then was posted to the Imperial Bank of Canada in Grande Prairie. The photos reveal they lived in a sort of caboose and Dorothy likely found the life very hard as she was unhappy there. A daughter, Lucy, was born June 20, 1920, in Grande Prairie. Digby suffered from depression after the traumas of the war and was away from home often which put the marriage under great strain. He requested a transfer and they moved to Ruddell near North Battleford, Sask. But the marriage broke up in 1922. Digby went south to the USA and Dorothy returned to the UK with the children. Dorothy remarried and Digby, when he retired, returned to Canada and died in Brentwood Bay on Vancouver Island in 1973. The son, James, who was the donor’s father, remembers his father talking to him about their life in Grande Prairie.

Custodial History

The photographs and biographical information were donated to the South Peace Regional Archives by Carol Sayarer, grandaughter of Joseph Thomas Smith, in 2009.

Scope and Content

The fonds consists of 7 photographs and biographical information.

Notes

 

 
Grande Prairie Hotel, 1919-1921
1 photograph; b & w; 2 x 3
The Grande Prairie Hotel in winter.
Location: 2009.84.01
James Andrew Digby Smith, 1920
1 photograph; b & w; 2 x 3
James Andrew Digby Smith, a toddler dressed for winter in Grande Prairie.
Location: 2009.84.02
The Imperial Bank of Canada, 1919-1921
1 photograph; b & w; 2 x 3
The Imperial Bank of Canada in Grande Prairie where Joseph Digby Smith worked.
Location: 2009.84.03
Dorothy Smith and son, James., 1920
1 photograph; b & w; 2 x 3
Dorothy Smith, wife of Joseph Digby Smith who worked for the Imperial Bank of Canada in Grande Prairie, and her son, James. They are standing in front of the bank building.
Location: 2009.84.04
Dorothy Smith, with Children in Front of “Home”, [1920]
1 photograph; b & w; 2 x 3
Dorothy Smith, wife of Joseph Digby Smith who worked for the Imperial Bank of Canada in Grande Prairie, and her son, James and baby daughter, Lucy stand in front of a tent style cabin they called home.
Location: 2009.84.05
Stuck in the Mud in Grande Prairie, [1920]
1 photograph; b & w; 2 x 3
A man with a spade stands behind the car of Joseph Digby Smith who worked for the Imperial Bank of Canada in Grande Prairie.
Location: 2009.84.06
James Andrew Digby Smith, [1920]
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
James Andrew Digby Smith as a toddler.
Location: 2009.84.07
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