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BBC - World War One at Home - Diaspora

Press/Media: Relating to Research

School of History

Description

Eric Paton Smith came from a wealthy Dundee family – and enjoyed the privileges that brought. He excelled academically, attending both St Paul’s School in London and later Cambridge. “At Cambridge Eric Paton Smith excelled at sport,” explains Dr Derek Patrick, senior history lecturer at Dundee University. “He rode to hounds and was edging to a place in the Cambridge team for the boat race when his father died.” The death of Paton Smith’s father meant that Eric had to travel to Kiev to assume control of the family business. The Paton Smiths imported agricultural machinery for which there was a huge demand. But at the outbreak of the war, Eric did his bit and joined the Kiev Hussars. “The Kiev Hussars were an elite group and Eric would have seen service against the Germans on the Eastern Front early in the war,” says Derek Patrick. “He is decorated with the Cross of St George – a prestigious military honour.” With the onset of the Russian Revolution , Derek Patrick speculates that someone like Eric Paton Smith might have wound up fighting for the White Army – but no-one knows for sure. Like Eric Paton Smith, Martin Dawson came from a well-off family –in this case, jute merchants. Martin Dawson had a taste for adventure from an early age, signing on with the Scots Greys at the age of 18. This may have been an act of youthful folly though as his father later bought him out. Undeterred, Martin went on to service in the military in South Africa, before relocating to Australia. Although he was around 40 at the time of the start of World War One, Martin signed up – claiming he was 35 in order to be accepted by the Australian army. “He arrives in Gallipoli in April 1915,”says Dr Derek Patrick. “Sadly he was killed in action on the 27th of August 1915. His body was never found.” “Both Paton Smith and Dawson are adventurers,” Derek says. “And there is an element of romance in what they do. Had there not been a war, you would have found these chaps off leading adventurous lives elsewhere.”

Media contributions

TitleBBC - World War One at Home - Diaspora
Media name/outletBBC
Duration/Length/Size5 minutes 24 seconds
CountryUnited Kingdom
Date20/11/14
DescriptionEric Paton Smith came from a wealthy Dundee family – and enjoyed the privileges that brought. He excelled academically, attending both St Paul’s School in London and later Cambridge. “At Cambridge Eric Paton Smith excelled at sport,” explains Dr Derek Patrick, senior history lecturer at Dundee University. “He rode to hounds and was edging to a place in the Cambridge team for the boat race when his father died.” The death of Paton Smith’s father meant that Eric had to travel to Kiev to assume control of the family business. The Paton Smiths imported agricultural machinery for which there was a huge demand. But at the outbreak of the war, Eric did his bit and joined the Kiev Hussars. “The Kiev Hussars were an elite group and Eric would have seen service against the Germans on the Eastern Front early in the war,” says Derek Patrick. “He is decorated with the Cross of St George – a prestigious military honour.” With the onset of the Russian Revolution , Derek Patrick speculates that someone like Eric Paton Smith might have wound up fighting for the White Army – but no-one knows for sure. Like Eric Paton Smith, Martin Dawson came from a well-off family –in this case, jute merchants. Martin Dawson had a taste for adventure from an early age, signing on with the Scots Greys at the age of 18. This may have been an act of youthful folly though as his father later bought him out. Undeterred, Martin went on to service in the military in South Africa, before relocating to Australia. Although he was around 40 at the time of the start of World War One, Martin signed up – claiming he was 35 in order to be accepted by the Australian army. “He arrives in Gallipoli in April 1915,”says Dr Derek Patrick. “Sadly he was killed in action on the 27th of August 1915. His body was never found.” “Both Paton Smith and Dawson are adventurers,” Derek says. “And there is an element of romance in what they do. Had there not been a war, you would have found these chaps off leading adventurous lives elsewhere.”
URLhttps://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02cc3yy
PersonsDerek John Patrick

ID: 256993162

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