Smith, George Noel Carington
George Noel Carington Smith 1904 - 1988
The second of four children and eldest son of Charles and Aileen Carington Smith, Noel was born on Christmas Day and aptly named. The family lived at Montmorency Falls, where Noel’s lifelong love of the countryside was nurtured. There are stories of fifteen or twenty feet of snow in the winter - he had his own dog and sledge to cope with this - of eating maple syrup turned to a crispy mouthful in a bowl of deeply frozen snow, and of the magic of living close to the amazing waterfall which famously produces a huge cone of frozen spray in the winter. He was educated at Lower Canada College and then Upper Canada College, graduating in 1922. The next three years were spent training at the Royal Military College at Kingston.
Noel decided to make his career in the British Army and in 1925 he moved to the United Kingdom and joined the Royal Artillery Regiment. As a young army officer, he was stationed in various places within the UK. In 1929 he was stationed in India and spent an interesting and active two years there. While there he famously shot dead a ‘man-eating' tiger that had killed two people in the local village. In those days this was a wonderful thing to have done, and he became quite a local hero.
Even though the Royal Artillery was highly mechanized during the 1930s, horse riding ability was apparently considered very desirable and Noel proved to be fully capable of reaching an excellent standard. He took part in many horse races, often won, and had many silver trophies to display. When he was still new to British Horse Racing, his future father-in-law bet on him. At the end of the successful race, it turned out that this was the only winning ticket, so the odds were excellent. A win that boded well for his future, no doubt.
It was in 1934 that he met Mary Falconer Donaldson, the youngest daughter of a Scottish shipowner, and in 1936 they were married. Army life involved a lot of moving around, and Noel and Mary were no exception. They had four children, Charles Falconer born in 1938, and Katherine Ann in 1940, at which point Mary and the two young children sailed the Atlantic to live in Kingston, Ontario, where they stayed until 1944. After the war, and by now back in Scotland, twins Robert and Rosemary were born in 1945.
At the start of the war, Noel was the adjutant attached to a reserve Technical Assistance (T.A.) unit based in County Durham in the north of England, however, within a few months, he was posted to Kingston, as a Staff College instructor. After this, he commanded an artillery regiment during the invasion and conquest of Sicily. Later experiences included Anzio and Ortona. Just at the end of the war, he spent a short time in England, before his second spell in India. Here he became the Acting Commandant of the British Army College in Quetta, in what is now Pakistan, during the months leading up to Independence and Partition; a job that involved overseeing the movement of many thousands of Hindus to the south into safety in India - a huge logistical job, involving the requisitioning of several trains.
In 1947 Noel decided to leave the army and he took up a civilian post in Perth, Scotland, administering the T.A. branch of the Scottish regiment, The Black Watch. He still loved riding, and for a while became Master of the Perthshire Drag Hunt. After six years he and Mary bought an arable farm, on which they built a new family-sized farmhouse, and Noel became a full-time farmer. There followed many happy years of farming, breeding Aberdeen Angus beef cattle and Scottish black-face sheep. Noel taught his children to ride, fish, and shoot, passing on his love of sports, horses, dogs, and the outdoors. He could now enjoy fishing and shooting too, and taking part in these two sports was something he continued after he retired from farming until his death in 1988.
Ann Carington Smith