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OBITUARY: Dr Alastair Smith, Royal Navy surgeon and GP
2:00pm Wednesday 26th February 2014 in News
A FORMER doctor who served in the Royal Navy as a surgeon in the Second World War has died, aged 95.
Dr Alastair Smith MBE (Mil) sailed back and forth across the Atlantic on rescue ships during the latter years of the war.
Years later, Mr Smith opened his own practice in Stockton-on-Tees where he worked as a GP for more than 33 years.
In 1982, he and his second wife Vera relocated to Bowness.
Born in Glasgow in 1918, he was educated at the High School of Glasgow and went on to study at the University of Glasgow Medical School.
As a newly-qualified doctor he worked for six months at Glasgow Royal Infirmary before he was called up and entered the Royal Navy as a surgeon towards the end of the Second World War.
He travelled from boat to boat around Canada and America.
At the end of the war, Mr Smith worked as a doctor’s assistant in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, before moving to Stockton-on-Tees where he took on a run down practice, building it up to be very successful.
He had surgeries in Dovecot Street, Stockton, and George Street, Thornaby, with partner Dr Hood in the 33 years spent there.
A busy man, he was active in the Royal Naval Association in Stockton, a serving Brother with The Saint John’s Ambulance Brigade, and a member of the North Tees Hospital Management Committee.
He also attended the United Reformed Church of Stockton, where he became a Senior Elder and filled in for the minister.
It was in Stockton where he married his first wife Sheila in 1947, having met her five years earlier. They had three children, Rosemary, Alastair and the late Francis.
Having divorced Sheila in the mid ’70s, Mr Smith met Vera Wild at a medical ball two years later and they married in 1979.
In 1982, the pair moved to Bowness to be near Vera’s son, Michael.
Here, Mr Smith did small periods of locum work at Staveley and Windermere Health Centre.
Members of the Lake District Horticultural Society, Windermere Golf Club and Probus, the couple quickly got to know a circle of people who would become life-long friends.
They enjoyed boating, walking and cruises around the Mediterranean and Scandinavia where Vera said her husband felt at home back at sea.
Mr Smith, who had developed slight dementia, started losing his balance and was admitted to hospital in November following a fall. He was there until a week before Christmas when he was moved into a home.
Mr Smith passed away in a nursing home in Kendal on February 14 with his wife by his side.
A funeral service was held on Tuesday (February 25) at Lancaster and Morecambe Crematorium.