Reminiscence and Resource Centre

Grocer who became a shoemaker. – 1948
Finding nothing to interest him and no excitement in a grocer’s shop, Fred Smith came to East Tilbury in 1935 and started in the rubber factory. Later, he transferred to the leather factory and took up the job of sole stitching, which has been his ever since. It was his first experience of factory work and he soon settled down and was one of the first workers employed in the newly formed sample department. Gradually the department grew into a small workshop and eventually became the nucleus of the present Dept 423.
About that time Fred Smith joined the R.A.F., serving in South Africa and India, returning home at the beginning of March 1946, after five years’ service and being demobbed just two days after getting home.
His outstanding memories of those years have to do with holiday trips into the Himalayan country, an unforgettable experience.
On returning from the Forces, ex-corporal Smith went into Dept 421 and took up sole stitching once more. Some time ago the boy on the wedge stapling machine was called up for military training and Foreman G Haxell and Fred Smith took it in turns to do a spot of wedge stapling and recalling the “good old days” when shortages of labour were unheard of.
A favourite hobby is gardening. Another is watching football. He is a strong supporter of the factory senior team. He never misses a home match and follows them in “away” engagements whenever it is possible. He is particularly delighted that they seem set for record-breaking achievements this season.