WWI War Bride
Christina Alice Smith
Maiden Name: Christina Alice Brewster
Born: May 12, 1895
Died: August 15, 1991 in Corner Brook, NL
From: Ayr, Scotland
Occupation: Office clerk before marriage; stay-at-home housewife
and mother after marriage
Husband: Donald Nansen Smith
Born: November 8, 1897 in Cupids, NL
Died: January 27, 1940
Date of Marriage: April 30, 1919 Glasgow,
Date of Departure: May 22, 1919, Liverpool
Ships Name: S. S. Corsican
Date / Port Arrived in NL: June 1, in St. John’s, NL
Port of Arrival in NL.: St. John's
Settled in: Humbermouth (now part of Corner Brook)
Children: Ina Hunter Smith, Elsa Brewster Smith,
Lorna Margaret Smith, William James Smith,
Donald Nansen Smith Jr, George McIlwraith
Agnes Mildred Smith,
Thomas Morley Smith
Christina met Donald at a church social in Ayr, Scotland sometime after July 19, 1916 (date he left Newfoundland). Theirs was a short courtship as he was sent to France in October, 1916. He was subsequently taken prisoner at Monchy-Le Preux on April 14, 1917 and spent the duration of the war as a prisoner in Germany. He returned to Britain in January, 1919. When he was granted leave, he returned to Ayr and met up again with Christina.
After their marriage, they traveled to Liverpool to board the S.S. Corsican. Travelling with them was Christina’s sister Agnes (Nancy) and her husband Douglas Gosse (from Spaniard’s Bay, Newfoundland). Nancy was also a war bride. After arriving in Newfoundland, Christina and Donald travelled to Cupids (Donald’s home town). Donald went from there to Humbermouth to become acting station agent. That position became permanent, so Christina joined him there.
They lived in a cook’s car (railway car used when railway workers were working on the line far from civilization. Here is Christina’s description.
“We had a fairly large coal-fired stove (coal was supplied by the railway). Near the stove we had a table, chairs and sideboard. Beyond that we hung two heavy curtains and beyond the curtains was our sleeping quarters with a bed and washstand with one drawer.
Flour was kept in a large barrel (only way you could buy flour). We could not buy bread, so I had to learn how to make bread—never did a very good job. Fresh milk was not available in the local store, but we had neighbours who had cows, and they gave us milk.”
After about a year in the cook’s car, the station agent’s house was built and Christina and Donald moved there.
Donald died of an aneurysm in 1940 leaving Christina with eight children still at home. Because the station agent’s house went with the job, they had to move. Neighbours chipped in and supplied materials and labour to build a new home.
Information provided by M Chaffey grand daughter Nov. 10, 2014.