Leonard Jack Smith

Male 1902 - 1978  (75 years)

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  • Name Leonard Jack Smith 
    Born 6 Aug 1902  On the farm at Warnertown, South Australia, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 1 Jul 1978  Adelaide, South Australia, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Cremated, Centennial Park, South Australia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • The twin brother of Vivian Rex Smith.
      The twins were so small they were not dressed, just wrapped and carried around on a cushion. Leo attended Warnertown Primary School and then Prince Alfred College. He was a pattern maker at Perry Engineering, then at Islington Railway Yards. He was out of work in the depression. He did carpentery work at home in his shed. He joined the Air Force during World War II and told his wife afterwards. He worked on aircraft maintenance. he suffered in a road accident near Darwin during the war in 1943 and spent 5 months in hospital. He endured noises in his head for the rest of his life but never complained. He came home from the war about three months before it ended. Later he was an agent for T&G Insurance. He was a kind and caring person. He played the trumpet as a young man and later the saxophone. He built a 32 foot boat in his backyard. In 1960 they travelled overseas to Europe.

      As small boys Leo, his twin brother Rex and his older brother Cedric, better known as Sid, were taken to the local school by their mother in the Sulky. When they were older they walked. When they were older still they rode their ponies. It was while they were at the age for waling to school that they also bought the bread for their mother on the way home from school. Six loaves at a time meant two each, an awkward load for each in addition to books, and being still fresh it was also a temptation for them. Lunch time was far behind them and the evening meal would have to wait until their father came in from ploughing. The temptation was too much. They sat behind the scimpy bushes at the side of the road and pulled log strips of fresh bread from the centre of one loaf. Well they wer hungrier than they thought and before they fully realized the extent of their nibblings half the loaf was gone! There was no way they could explain that! So they ate the rest of the loaf and stuffed the crust down a rabbit burrow. As far as their mother ever knew the shop had run out of bread and could only supply five loaves!

      Life seems to have been full of hazards and the boys got up to as much trouble as modern boys do. It is truly miraculous that they ever lived to adulthood. On one occasion the boys were swimming with another friend in the dam. No doubt they were not supposed to. Well when they clambered out there were only three, not four of them. They couldn't find Leo anywhere. So they grabbed a tree branch as thick around as a person's trunk and thrust it into the muddy water hoping to touch him. They hit him in the stomach first try and he grabbed the limb and clung on until they had him safely on shore. They threatened their friend with all sorts of awful things if he ever told anyone. Apparently he never did and it wasn't until many years later that they told their mother.

      Well that was leo nearly gone! Sid nearly didn't make it either. The boys went poking around all sorts of places where they shouldn't On one such occasion they were in the Worman s sleeping quarters. He had left his rifle on the table. Rex picked it up and aimed it just for a joke at Sid at the other end of the room. Sid screamed at him not to be a fool: it might be loaded. Rex wouldn't believe him and said that no-one ever left rifles lying around loaded and Just to prove it he aimed it at the ceiling and blew a hole right through to the blue sky outside!

      On another occasion they all nearly came to a swift end. They were visiting the farm of Neighbours and also poking around the sheds where they found a bullet from a .303 army type rifle. It was as thick as you little finger and as long. Leo thought he would see what would happen if you hit it with a hammer instead of firing it from a rifle! He took the hammer and slammed it! An enormous explosion rocked the shed. They dived for the floor and somehow escaped injury. They could all have been killed. There was no way they could cover up that incident!

      Maybe the most vivid of the stories is the one about the mice plague of 11914 or thereabouts. The twins were boys of about twelve at the time. The life on the farm had been the same, season in season out, with only variations because of rainfall or frost until suddenly one morning they woke to find not dozens, not Hundreds or even thousands but millions of mice! They were everywhere: in the house, in between the sheets, racing under doors, but most thickly in the shed where feed was abundant.

      Their father used to keep the wheat for feeding in a tank separate from the rest. It was usually half filled so that you could bend over and scoop it out with a tin to feed the chooks. The mice were so thick they formed a ramp about two feet thick from the level of the wheat up to the top of the tank! The scrambled up over each other in a living conveyor belt around the entire tank!

      In the shed were the chaff was kept mice burrowed in and gave birth to young pink-skinned mice. As the chaff was lifted to feed the horsed the babies fell out or were torn away with some of the chaff so that the horses wouldn't feed. The horses hated the smell of the mice and became very restless and difficult to feed.

      At Night the boys and their father would place sheets of iron on the sloping haystack with a Bucket of water under each. In the morning they would empty thirty buckets of mice!

      In the big shed, maybe fifty feet long and thirty feet wide, the floor was entirely covered by a seething, rippling mass of mice. Rex says no-one can ever imagine what that was really like unless they had seen it. There was no way you could walk in there without high boots., Even then, imagine treading on living creatures every step you took, even though you had come to hate every single one of them.

      Everyone seemed to come out in a rash during the Mice plague, especially on the hands. it was red blotches with flaky skin on the surface. It itched and was sore. They used the oil and kerosene mixture that they used on hens with lice, to keep it bearable

      Perhaps the most stomach-churning part of it all is the story of the workman for the boys' Aunt. He was an old man about 90 at the time and use to tend the fowls and potter around being useful in return for his keep. He was too old to be particularly careful about washing and would sometimes go to bed after feeding the fowls their mash, without washing his hands. he did this during the mice plague too and the mice stripped not only the mash from his fingers during the night, but his skin as well!

      It went as suddenly as it had come but the five-month mouse plague was a vivid memory for those who experienced it.
      Th above true stories were told by Rex and recorded by his daughter, Cynthia. (The Tucker Family in Australia, 1992)
    Person ID I5171  Tucker Family Tree | The descendants of James Tucker
    Last Modified 2 Mar 2007 

    Father Charles Henley Smith,   b. 17 Mar 1871, Morphett Vale, South Australia, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 27 Mar 1919, Port Pirie Hospital, South Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 48 years) 
    Mother Lilly May Hawkins,   b. 2 Apr 1875, Myponga, South Australia, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 29 Jan 1951, Ashford Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 75 years) 
    Married 23 Mar 1898  Wesleyan Church, Napperby, South Australia, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F1574  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Violet Dorothy Wilson,   b. 13 Jul 1903, Mile End, South Australia, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Jul 1990  (Age 87 years) 
    Married 18 Dec 1926  Holder Memorial Methodist Church, Mile End, South Australia, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F1585  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Documents At least one living or private individual is linked to this item - Details withheld.

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