Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Curse of the Black Cat......Sepia Saturday 175





Black Cat

Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs. Historical photographs of any age or kind become the launchpad for explorations of family history, local history and social history in fact or fiction, poetry or prose, words or further images. Click here to learn more.





The following Derby soldier lived and fought through every day the Great War.

Neither war nor cigarettes killed him........





Charles Sydney Smith (CSS) far left, on in his father's knee July 1892
(Own collection)


CSS, aged about 17 circa 1907, at Coxbench Quarry, Derby,  with his
one day bride Beatrice and her father, my great grandfather,
William Slater. No cigarette yet !

(Own collection)


Lazy pre-war picnic, CSS right and bride to be Beatrice Slater centre.
The smoking has started.
(Own collection)


CSS as an apprentice mining engineer circa 1913.
At the Digby, Gedling 1&2, or New London colliery, Eastwood/Nottingham.
The air so bad a cigarette is probably irrelevant.

(Own collection)

A shooting party, circa 1913. CSS far right.
Now hooked on the weed.
(Own collection)


August 1914
 (Own collection)


Now its war, 1914......as a Sherwood Forester, 
cigarette behind the back?
(Own collection)


But why hide it when the others have their pipes?
(Own collection)




           





War is great news for 
the tobacco companies

(Courtesy Times Digital Archive)











Wedding day, 1915, on leave from France.
Cigarettes are fine in a war time wedding photo.
(Own collection)

....but perhaps try a pipe on honeymoon?
(Own collection)



1915, married and heading back to France
 in the Machine Gun Corps.
(Own collection)


 CSS (centre seated) training at Belton House, Grantham,
HQ of the Machine Gun Corps.

A cigarette even for formal poses.
(Own collection)



Just days before the Somme offensive. If nervous about posing on horseback....don't smoke !!
(Own collection)



With fellow officers........
(Own collection)


Change headgear.......light another cigarette !!
(Own collection)



"I like the cigarette and the whip,
but the horse can go...."

(Own collection)


1917...still no shortage of cigarettes.
(Own collection)



Time for a portrait to celebrate the award of his
 Military Cross.
A cigarette not appropriate for this one.

(Own collection)


Hooray !!!!!

Monday November 11, 1918.
The Great War Ends.
Charles Sydney Smith has survived.
The family celebrate for a few days.

(Own collection)
He survived the Western Front.....................

He survived cigarettes...................










But then influenza killed him, helped by.........


The Curse of The Black Cat



November 28, 1918. Major Charles Sydney Smith M.C. dies of influenza.
One of many letters of condolence.

(Own collection)


Nottingham Road Cemetery, Derby.

The Death Plaque was little consolation
 for his widow Beatrice.

(Own collection)




.....and little consolation for his only child, born 7 months after his death.
Victor Sydney Smith 1919-2003.
My first cousin once removed.

(Own collection)


The Curse of the Black Cat

Don't forget it

(Own collection)
You will run out of time if you smoke.

The End

18 comments:

  1. Fantastic post. What a collection of smoking photos! How sad that the splendid Major Charles survived the war and died so soon after! Don't you wonder what a man like him could have accomplished had he lived longer? On a lighter note, the smoking black cat is really funny - blowing his/her smoke out of the cigarette. I'm still reading the fine print on the ads and enjoying the copy.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow. What an amazing collection of photos. Thanks for sharing. That must have taken an age to assemble.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That is great - tracing the life of a cigarette smoker.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow. The evolution of a smoker. What a story. What photos you have that go so perfectly with this week's theme. I can't believe that he died of the flu and not of smoking. I guess if he would have lived to a grand old age he might have gotten lung cancer or emphysema because he really was addicted according to your photos.
    Nancy

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh my now this is something that is beginning to not be so common any more. It seems around here, that there is no longer any smoking in places and buildings anymore. I can see why some may not have wanted to be photographed with their pipe or cigar, as my mother back in the day when she smoked, never ever would let anyone take a picture of her smoking!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Very interesting post Nigel, so many pictures of people smoking, of course, it was stylish back then.

    ReplyDelete
  7. To Have Been Surrounded By Danger As Far As The Eye Could See, & Killed By A Virus .But A Fine Life None the Less.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Excellent story and collection of smoking photos. I enjoyed the humorous captions the best. The intermingling with history makes for an impressive portrait of your Derby soldier cousin.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great collection and a sad ending.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh, that's so sad! But what a fabulous post! Loved it all.

    ReplyDelete
  11. You really drew me into the biography. I love the way you used smoking to tell the tale. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Extraordinary, the number of cigarettes he must have smoked. I like the shooting party photograph.

    ReplyDelete
  13. What a wonderful post. Blogging at its very best. I read it once and the read it again for the sheer enjoyment of it. You mix words and old images like an artist mixing paints.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Superb collection of photos with which to tell the story of a brave man. The 1918 flu killed millions, I believe.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Once he got hooked cigarettes seemed to be his constant companion. How wonderful that you have so many pictures, postcards and memorabilia to tell his story. Thoroughly enjoyable - except his demise caused by that horrible influenza.

    ReplyDelete
  16. A fine tribute to a man with everything a good story should have. The remarkable photos are perfect for telling the full arc of a life.

    ReplyDelete
  17. What a poignant story and what a wonderful collection of photos. I remember reading about the fact that influenza killed many soldiers at the end of the war. I guess smoking and exisiting in overcrowded, damp, rat infested trenches didn't do much for their immune systems.

    ReplyDelete
  18. A very interesting photo that really told a story by pictures. I really enjoyed it and now think that I should have followed as similar line.

    ReplyDelete