Robert Leslie Smart

Robert Leslie Smart was a Freemason and member of Lodge Temperance 2557 who served in the 2nd World War. A letter to the Provincial Grand Secretary of Northumberland from WBro John Sowerby, Secretary, and dated 7th November 1947 attached a list of the names and service of forty three Brethren and Brother Charles is shown as serving in the Royal Air Force.

At the Lodge Temperance 2557 meeting held at the Royal Assembly Rooms, Westgate Road, on 20th November 1939, Robert was proposed by Bro H. Carty, Assistant Secretary and seconded by Bro James W. Charlton as a fit and proper person to be made a Freemason.

He was a 28 year old shipping clerk residing at 21, Coleridge Ave, Gateshead, Co. Durham. A successful ballot was held the following month on 18th December and he was initiated into the mysteries and privileges of Ancient Freemasonry on 15th January 1940. He was passed to the second or Fellowcraft degree on 15th April and raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason on 17th June 1940.

Unfortunately, military service records after 1920 are only available to proven next of kin and we have not been able to identify any of William’s military information from records available to the general public.

Robert was born on 9th September 1911 in Lanchester, Co. Durham to James and Lydia Smart. James was a joiner working in a timber yard and he married Lydia Moody in 1911 in Gateshead, Co. Durham. Both parents were born and bred in Gateshead and they appear to have had two children:

  • Robert Leslie (09/09/1911 – 07/1996)
  • Elsie b 1921 –

Robert married Sarah Anne Whing in Gateshead in 1937. Sarah, whose father was a miner, was born in Gateshead, Co. Durham. In the 1939 register, Robert and Sarah Anne are living at 66, Ripon Street, Gateshead and Robert is a Customs Supervising and shipping and forwarding clerk working for a ship’s broker.

It appears that Robert and Sarah had a son in 1943 but separated and Sarah remarried in 1947. Robert died in July 1996.