Member Biography

D.A. Smith

Donald Alpine Smith

(1880.09.22 – 1964.?.?)
Commission #033

It is with regret that this committee reports on the death of one of our Life Members, Mr. Donald Alpine Smith who passed away in Vancouver at the age of 83. Born in Claude, Ont., and educated at Brampton and the School of Practical Science at Toronto, Mr. Smith gained prominence as one of Saskatchewan’s best-known and respected surveyors. He was appointed Dominion Land Surveyor and assigned the job of railway survey in Saskatchewan in 1903.

Sergeant D. A. Smith was the first member of our Association to go overseas in 1914. He pioneered the technique of transferring air photographs onto survey maps and after gaining a commission in the Corps of Engineers in 1917, surveyed the bridging of many trenches on the front.

He married Blanche Robertshaw in Yorkshire, England, in 1918 and returned with her to Regina the year after his discharge. Between the two World Wars Mr. Smith continued his surveying practice and established a reputation as an informed and accurate witness in many law suits in court. Until his retirement to Vancouver in 1955 he continued as a private surveyor.

Mr. Smith was predeceased by a son, Gerald, shot down in his RCAF fighter in 1943 in Europe. A lake in the Cree Lake District of Northwest Saskatchewan was named Gerald in his honour in 1947, commemorating his decoration in 1942 for landing the first Spitfire fighter on the deck of an aircraft carrier.

Mr. Smith is survived by his wife, at home, two sons, Roderick of Vancouver, a RCAF wartime flying ace, who shot down the first flying bomb or “doodlebug” over Britain in 1944, and Donald of Fort St. John, B.C.; a daughter, Mrs. Geoffrey Nobel of Kitchener, one sister and one brother.

Prepared by the Biography Committee, circa 1964