Donald Steward Smith (1908 - 1942)

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Donald Steward Smith
1908 - 1942
Lilydale, Australia
July 1, 1942
Last Known Residence
Lilydale, Australia
Donald Steward Smith was born in 1908 in Lilydale, Australia. He is the child of Oliver Talbot Smith and Elizabeth Adam Smith. He died on July 1, 1942 at 34 years of age.
Updated: July 24, 2019
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Donald Steward Smith
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Donald Steward Smith
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Lilydale, Australia
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Rabaul Memorial Panel 17. in Papua New Guinea
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Service number: vx38091 Rank: Corporal Regiment: Australian Infantry Unit/ship/squadron: A.i.f. 2/22 Bn.

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Donald Steward Smith died on July 1, 1942 at 34 years old. he was buried in Rabaul Memorial Panel 17., Papua New Guinea. He was born in 1908 in Lilydale, Australia. He is the child of Oliver Talbot Smith and Elizabeth Adam Smith.
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1908 - 1942 World Events

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In 1908, in the year that Donald Steward Smith was born, a 7.1 earthquake and the resulting tsunami killed 70,000 to 100,000 people in southern Italy and Sicily. The earthquake, lasting 30 to 40 seconds, occurred in the Strait of Messina which was between the region of Calabria (at the "toe" of Italy) and the island of Sicily and destruction from it occurred in a 186 mile radius. It was the most destructive earthquake ever to hit Europe.

In 1912, by the time he was merely 4 years old, in October, former President Theodore Roosevelt was shot, but not killed, while campaigning for another term as President with the newly created Bull Moose (Progressive) Party. John Schrank was a Bavarian-born saloon-keeper from New York who had been stalking Roosevelt when he shot him just before a campaign speech. Shot in the chest (and showing the audience his bloody shirt), Roosevelt went on to give a 55 to 90 minute talk (reports vary on the length) before being treated for the injury. After 8 days in the hospital, Roosevelt went back on the campaign trail.

In 1925, when he was 17 years old, in July, the Scopes Trial - often called the Scopes Monkey Trial - took place, prosecuting a substitute teacher for teaching evolution in school. Tennessee had enacted a law that said it was "unlawful to teach human evolution in any state-funded school". William Jennings Bryan headed the prosecution and Clarence Darrow headed the defense. The teacher was found guilty and fined $100. An appeal to the Supreme Court of Tennessee upheld the law but overturned the guilty verdict.

In 1938, he was 30 years old when on October 30th, a Sunday, The Mercury Theatre on the Air broadcast Orson Welles' special Halloween show The War of the World's. A clever take on H.G. Wells' novel, the show began with simulated "breaking news" of an invasion by Martians. Because of the realistic nature of the "news," there was a public outcry the next day, calling for regulation by the FCC. Although the current story is that many were fooled and panicked, in reality very few people were fooled. But the show made Orson Welles' career.

In 1942, in the year of Donald Steward Smith's passing, on November 28th at 10:15p, a nightclub in Boston, the Cocoanut Grove, caught fire. The origins of the fire are unknown but it killed 492 people - the deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history. Hundreds more were injured. The disaster was so shocking that it replaced World War II in the headlines and lead to reforms in safety standards and codes.

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