Army Colonel and Royston resident honoured

PUBLISHED: 09:07 26 August 2010 | UPDATED: 11:32 26 August 2010

Members of the Royal British legion with family and friends pay their respects to Col Ray Smith at Royston war memorial.

Members of the Royal British legion with family and friends pay their respects to Col Ray Smith at Royston war memorial.

Daniel Wilson

A WREATH has been laid in Royston to commemorate the life of a “wonderful citizen of the town.”

Colonel Raymond Smith died of cancer on May 30 this year, aged 78, after living in the town for the final 25 years of his life with his wife Patricia.

He had been a member of local branches of the History Society, the Wildlife Society, and the Stamp Club, had been Chairman of the Twinning Association, and had served in the army since he was 18.

The Legion decided to lay a wreath at the war memorial on the outskirts of Priory Gardens this week (Tuesday), with Mrs Smith, her daughter, her grandchildren and her friends in attendance.

Mrs Smith, of Melbourn Road, said: “It’s very nice of them (the Legion), to do this for my husband. It really is wonderful.

“We have been very lucky with the lives we have led, and in the end it was very sad about my husband. It was so good of the Legion to arrange this though.”

Mr and Mrs Smith moved to Royston in 1986, and Mr Smith took at job at Johnson Matthey. It was the twenty-sixth time they had moved home together.

“My husband was born in Wendover, and since he joined the army we moved all around the world,” said Mrs Smith.

“We have been to Nigeria, Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany, Belgium and many more.

“Singapore was my favourite place to live. We lived in a fantastic house, and Prince Charles came to stay in the house next door.

“My husband had to take care of him as the senior policeman in the area, and when he fell off his horse playing polo I had to treat him as I was a physio.”

Reverend Les Harman from Royston Parish Church read a prayer at the memorial, and a horn was played while the legion flag was raised.

Joe McDonald, Welfare Officer of the Royston Branch of the Royal British Legion had organised the laying of the wreath. He said: “As a Lieutenant Colonel he served all over the world for queen and country.”

“All service men lose their lives though, and all members of the Royston branch have a wreath laid at the memorial.

“We try to leave wreaths there as long as we can so any family or friends can come a pay respects.”

Colonel Smith’s other achievements included leading expeditions to Mount Everest, being head of an Honour Guard of police from each country in NATO, running a ski hut in Bavaria and looking after Prince George of Denmark while in Holland.

Royston Town Mayor Martin Beaver said: “Ray Smith was a wonderful citizen of the town and has been sorely missed.”

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