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Remembered Today:

Greetings from "Smiler" Marshall


ianw

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I am pleased to say that I went to see Smiler at tea-time today. He has had a busy day with family and friends and was tired , but a cup of his favourite sweet tea did revive him a good deal.

I delivered all of your cards that arrived at my home this morning. The card from the Queen (his 3rd apparently ) arrived by special delivery this morning . Smiler asked me to send his thanks to all who remembered him on his birthday.

I raised a glass of sherry with him and his carers and it really was an extraordinary privilege to do so.

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Conor,

I didn't actually count them but approx. a dozen , I suppose. Thanks to all who took the trouble to send them across. I was certainly pleased to be the "postman"

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Guest Ian Bowbrick

Ian, Only just seen this thread and missed out on sending a card :( Good to hear however that he had a great day. On the subject of Smiler, Is he the only MGC veteran still living? (Phil??)

Ian :)

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Did I miss the forum being told about this interesting visit? Perhaps all 600-odd of us should sent a birthday card and much honour to the last few for the the next few last years. Or would the postie tell them they'd have to collect from the sorting office?

This sets me thinking about the fact that having almost reached a grandly mature birthday later this year I have never knowingly met a Great War veteran. Dreadful isn't it. I keep going to Cambrai and so do some of them, but without overlap. Perhaps Menin Gate 13.04.03 will do it.

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I can certainly confirm Smiler's association with the MGC(Cavalry). His carer told me that he was recently invited to fire a Vickers again. Apparently the instructor who tried to teach his (great) grandmother to suck metaphorical eggs with a basic instruction on the controls of the Vickers got rather short shrift. Smiler dismissed him with a wave of the hand and then went through his "1-2-3" firing drill l as if he had learnt it yesterday and enjoyed the whole experience immensely !

Seems likely that that hand of his that I shook today is the last to fire a Vickers during the Great War. Awesome.

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I had the shop assistant running up and down ladders looking for a card for a 106 year old !!! They only went up to 100 ! :D

Would be nice if we could find out the birthdays of other veterans

;)

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Steve,

I was told that one of the other vets had his 108th birthday earlier in March. No doubt, someone will know who this is. So Smiler is really a relative stripling at a mere 106 !

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Smiler could be the last :unsure: I am asking the oracles. Can certainly testify to the shoot. It was at Bisley last July, organised by the RLC(TA) and called Operation PARTING SHOT. The instructors were a mixture of regular RLC, TA RLC and some older cadets. They had been well drilled by the Small Arms School Corps or the Salisbury and Amesbury Sewing Circle as my jovial Ammunition Technical Officer friend calls them [spare him a thought - tonight 'somewhere in Northern Kuwait']

However, it has clearly been the 'stripped down' course - every stoppage was attributed to 'misfeed due to the belt'. Hmm.. Dolf Goldsmith, author of THE book on the Vickers, was not convinced - so Smiler would have been absolutely within rights... A special firing point was made up for him so he could fire from his wheelchair.

Yes, it was one heck of a day. If I could see how, I'd post some of the proof of my participation!

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Further to the above - (to sound suspiciously like 'Star Wars'). 'There is another..' A gentleman of 105 years, living in Norfolk. Still with us at the beginning of March, we believe.

But they truly are the last as far as we know.

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Guest Ian Bowbrick

Thanks Phil - one sometimes wonders whether when these 2 remarkable men were up to their armpits in mud whether they ever thought for a million years that they would reach 105!!

Respect,

Ian :ph34r:

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