Luke Smith

Luke Smith was the fourth oldest born to Martha and Joseph on August 7, 1886. He enlisted with the Royal Naval Reserve on March 18, 1906 and completed his training at HMS Calypso. At that time he was given the Newfoundland #233 which was replaced when he re-enlisted in 1914 and assigned the number 947X. The Calypso arrived in St. John’s in 1902 and served as a depot and drill ship for the newly formed Naval Reserve. He became the first son to become involved with the Naval Reserve. Luke would have seen the Reserve as a source of employment during the winter months and he could return to the fishery during the spring/summer months.
At the age of 27, Luke married Isabella Spurrell, daughter of Moses and Mary Ann Spurrell of Butter Cove on May 16, 1913. A year later, the world would be gripped by a raging conflict that was building in Europe. On July 28, 1914 war was declared and all reservists were recalled to active duty.
Luke was recalled on August 3, 1914 and began active duty with the Royal Navy. Between August 3 and November 5, 1914 Luke prepared at the St. John’s Naval depot to fight in the war. Between November 19 and December 5 he was assigned duty at HMS Vivid I Naval Base near Devonport, England. He was transferred to HMS Hilary on December 6 and remained there until Jan 4, 1917. The Hilary formed part of the Northern Patrol blockading trade to Germany. His final assignment came on January 5 when he was ordered to report to the Naval Base HMS Pembroke I at Chatham, England.
Oral family history suggests he was on leave and returning to Gooseberry Cove when tragedy struck the Laurentic, on route to see his wife and daughter, Viola May, who was born on July 21, 1915. He had never seen his infant daughter and was excited about going home.

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