War baby is 100-years-old

Dorothy Smith who is celebrating her 100th birthday on July 9.
Dorothy Smith who is celebrating her 100th birthday on July 9.
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A lady who was born just one week after the first day of the Battle of the Somme will be celebrating her 100th birthday this weekend.

Dorothy Irene Smith (nee Swift), who turns 100 on July 9, has been living in the Keer Sands care home in Carnforth since 2010.

From left: May Tempest, Dorothy's older sister, Richard and Dorothy Smith.

From left: May Tempest, Dorothy's older sister, Richard and Dorothy Smith.

She was born inLiverpool but sadly, when she was three, her mother was killed in a fire, so from then on she was raised by her grandma, aunts and her big sister (then aged eight) May (later May Tempest of Morecambe).

When she was twelve her little family moved to Morecambe in pursuit of work for her father Victor Swift, a renowned cinema pianist.

Unfortunately this was right at the beginning of the talkies.

The family fell on hard times until her father, formed asmall concert party group still playing the piano, which he continued to do later at the Tower ballroomuntil his retirement.

Sadly that meant that Dorothy had to leave school at the earliest opportunity and shetook up employment at Souplex, the razor blade factory at White Lund Industrial Estate..

Not a pleasant job as in those days of no health and safety rules, she was frequently cut in the carrying out of her work. She later worked in the box office at the Tower Cinema then and in the office of the laundry near her home inHeysham.

Nevertheless she thoroughly enjoyed her life, frequently going dancing on the pier or at the Tower, and as a member of the Morecambe Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society.

Having met Richard (Dick) Smith at the Broadway Hotel, she married him the love of her life in 1958.

They moved to St Michaels Lane in Bolton-le-Sands and eventually, on retirement, devoted their time to their succession of beloved corgis and gardening.

Dick died a short time after their golden wedding anniversary in 2008.

Dorothy will be celebrating her 100th birthday with a party for family and friend at the Keer Sands care homewhere she is lovingly cared for.

Fought between July and November 1916, the Battle of the Somme was one of the defining events of World War One and the largest battle on the western front. It saw over one million wounded, killed or missing on both sides of the battlefield – affecting the lives of millions more back home.

The first day of the 141-day campaign, July 1 1916, was and still is the deadliest day in the history of the British Army. Almost 20,000 British Empire soldiers lost their lives in just 24 hours.

As well as being the deadliest battle of the 1914-1918 conflict, it was one of the bloodiest battles in human history.