By Steve Smith
This shorter and more visual biography is really just an excuse to illustrate some Toc H membership cards from over the years. By chance I acquired on eBay a set that once belonged to Reg Smith. Reg had caught my eye on many occasions during my research, firstly because he shares my dad’s name and secondly because he comes from Norwich. He also embodies the Toc H staffer sent from place to place to do a job although in Reg’s case he ended up back in his native city.
Born in Norwich in January 1906, Reg became a branch member in that city (Member number 13529) then in 1936 joined the staff. He was posted to the West Country and became the Western Area Secretary. He returned to Norwich in 1938 and married Joan Barley. They were to go to Australia where Reg was to take up a staff position there.
However, the impending war intervened and the posting was cancelled. Instead he was posted to Yorkshire and became Area Secretary there living in Harrogate. He became involved in the Service Clubs and from 1940 his address was given as Brotherton House, the Leeds Mark, although whether he and Joan lived there or it just his correspondence address is not clear.
In May 1941, his membership changes to the Western Area and this is likely when he became Western Area Secretary living in Clifton and Bristol until at least October 1949.
By April 1951 though he has returned to Norwich and is living on Constitution Hill and employed as East Anglian Area Secretary.
He and Joan also organised Toc H holidays to Farnham Castle, a former Bishop’s Palace and then (and now) a conference centre.
He was posted to the West Country again, living in Exeter but returned to Norwich on his retirement in 1972. He was living in Drayton on the outskirts of the city when he died in September 1993.