Little Ray Smith


RAYMOND F. "LITTLE RAY" SMITH was born in Chicago, Illinois on December 3, 1894. He enlisted in the 3rd Regiment of the New Jersey National Guard in Camden in 1912, and saw duty with General Pershing's expedition to Mexico and in France during World War I. While in France began his professional boxing career. On January 1, 1926 former AEF champion lightweight boxer Little Ray Smith was assigned to Engine Company 8. He remained with Engine 8 until July of 1939, when he was promoted to Captain and assigned to lead the city's Fire Training Academy. He was living at 111 North 6th Street in 1942, when he registered for the draft. He later re-enlisted and although already in his late 40s was accepted into the Coast Guard. 

Camden Courier-Post - January 13, 1928

Sergeant Ray Smith Heads Committee In Charge of Arrangement  for Jousts

Not to be outdone by any local organization, Corporal Raymond C. Thoirs Post, of the American Legion, passed a resolution last night in favor of staging a monster boxing show at Convention Hall sometime next month. Half the receipts will be donated to further the Boy Scout Movement.

Sergeant Ray Smith, former heavyweight boxer and now a licensed referee, was elected to head the committee on arrangements, which consists if ten members; Judge Frank F. Neutze, Dr. Irwin B. Deibert, Tom Taylor, J. Harry Ashton, Harry E. Bayne, George P. Rothermel, Albert Wehner, Fireman Ray Smith and Jack Weinberg will assist the sergeant in making the show a success.

A businessmen’s committee also will be appointed, but as yet has not been named by the legion committee members.

It is the intention of the committee to bring some of the best boxers in the country here for the show, which they will make an annual affair providing the initial one is a success. Chairman Smith stated today that he would apply for a boxing permit from Deputy Boxing Commissioner Edward A. Welsh at once.

Camden Courier-Post - January 20, 1928

r Camden Scrapper to Teach Sport at Local Y.M.C.A.

Ray Smith, well-known in Camden boxing circles, has been appointed to the position of boxing Instructor at the Camden Y. M. C. A. That post has been vacant since Max W. Younger left to accept a berth at Temple University.

Smith, who is known as ‘Little Ray’ to distinguish himself from Sergeant Ray Smith, is going to get together a boxing team to represent the Y. M. C. A. in club competition.

Ray has had a number of ring bouts, including one with Willie Davis in Norristown; Tony Angelo and Tommy Sharkey, at Atlantic City; Joe Elliott and Frankie Nelson in Camden; Tommy Lyons in Gloucester; Joe O’Keefe in Clementon; Jimmy Magee in Philadelphia; and Willie Preston and Francis DeSilver, in France during the World War.

Camden Courier-Post - February 11, 1936


A letter from "Sunny Miami" brings a note from Little Ray Smith, now a city fireman and one of the writer's best friends. Little Ray, his wife Helen, and daughter Joan, are sojourning in the Southland during Ray's vacation. Enclosed in a letter are two snap shots taken of Joan and George Bernard Shaw. Ray says he met an old friend of mine, Jimmy Maloney, who now is a policeman. And that brings to mind a story. Jim, a good Irishman, and a few years back one of the best heavy­weights ever turned out of Boston.

 It was in 1927 when I last saw Jim Maloney, a fine husky lad who on the night of May 20 that year, was to meet an old rival, ,Jack Sharkey, from his home town in the ring at Madison Square Garden. These two had been bitter enemies and I feel that Jim resented the fact that Sharkey, a Lithuanian, had taken an Irish moniker when he took up fisticuffs. These two had met twice before in the squared circle in Boston. In 1924 Jim gained the decision in 10 rounds. In 1925 Jim again won, this time on a foul in the ninth round. And so on May 20, 1927, these two were to meet for the third time. To the winner was to go the distinction of being a runner­up for the heavyweight title .

 .After shaking hands with Maloney at the weighing-in ceremonies, I walked across the ring where Sharkey was addressing Jimmy Johnston, the matchmaker of the Garden, presented me to the garroulous gob.

I told Jack that I was a newspaper man and asked him how he felt about the encounter scheduled for that evening.

"I'll knock that big Irishman right I into your lap in about three rounds," Sharkey told me.

Jack was the underdog in the fight, all the sports scribes around New York labeled the match as just a warming-up process for Maloney who they thought was a great prospect to annex the heavyweight championship of the world.

The night of the fight I was at the ringside with my nose literally in the resin box in Maloney's corner. Jack got away to a fast start and was well out in front when near the middle Of the fifth round, call it imagination if you pleas, but Jack looked down at me, winked and shot over a terrific right cross that sent Maloney sprawling to the canvas just a few inches from where I was sitting. That ended the fight and also the career of a great Irishman who always gave his best in the squared circle, and I'll bet that there is no finer bluecoat in all Miami than Jim Maloney.

Incidentally that was the first fight that started Jack Sharkey on his climb to fame that resulted in his winning of the greatest of all fistic baubles- the heavyweight championship of the world. 

Camden Courier-Post - February 9, 1938


Charles Errickson - Rollo Jones - Little Ray Smith

Camden Courier-Post - June 30, 1939

Several Firemen Hurt; Oil Plant and Homes Are Menaced


Ralph Bingemann - John Lennox - Andrew Ballantine - John Strauss
Ray Smith - Lou Gold - Marvin Gold - Leroy Garrison - Emido Martelli
Agnes Mitchell - Mrs. Roy Dilks - Albert Bowne 

Camden Courier-Post * June 5, 1940
Truck Disbanded, Engine Company Created; 13 Men Transferred

Commissioner Mary W. Kobus yesterday announced a number of changes in the fire department, including the disbanding of Truck Company No. 4; creation of a new engine company. No. 10, and the transfer of 18 officers and men, 12 of them captains.

Most of the new captains have been serving as acting captains and promotion to full rank will involve no pay increases, inasmuch as the men signed waivers foregoing the raises.

Commissioner Kobus explained most of the changes were made to conform with regulations of the National Board of Fire Underwriters. The board, Mrs. Kobus explained, made a survey of the department and advised appointments of acting captains to full rank.

The commissioner also announced she had appointed Junior Captain Raymond Smith as director of the school for firemen at Engine Company No. 10, Ninth and Morgan streets. Smith, one of the youngest at the recently appointed junior captains, will succeed the late Battalion Chief Rollo Jones.

Senior Captain Leonard Megee was appointed acting battalion chief to succeed Jones. He will continue at the Fifth and Arch streets fire headquarters.

Junior Captain William Spencer, of headquarters company, was named relief captain.

Engine Company No. 10 will use the headquarters of the old truck
company, at Ninth and Morgan streets.

To the new company Mrs. Kobus assigned Senior Captain Mortica Clark and Firemen Frank Burt, Frank Esperance and Clifford Lane.

Junior Captain Frank Oberman was transferred from Engine Company No. 10 to Engine Company No. 1, at fire headquarters.

Other assignments are as follows:

Junior Captain Robert Wonsetler, Engine Company No. 11, to Engine Company No. 2.

Fireman Harry Kleinfelder, Engine Company No. 6, to Engine Company No. 2

Junior Captain Edgar Ellender, Engine Company No. 2, to Engine Company No. 6

Junior Captain Ralph Bingemann, Truck Company No. 2, to Engine Company No. 7.

Fireman David Humphries, Truck Company No. 3, to Engine Company No. 11.

Junior Captain Nelson Andrews, Engine Company No. 2, to Truck Company No. 1.

Fireman Albert Dukes, Jr., Truck Company No. 1, to Engine Company No. 2.

Junior Captain Winfield Levisuer, Truck Company No. 2, to Truck Company No. 3.

Junior Captain Edward McDowell retains assignment to Engine Company No. 3.

Junior Captain Maurice O’Brien assigned to Engine Company No. 10.

The changes were contained in notice to the Civil Service Commission, are effective as of June 1 and will appear on the June 15 payroll.

Camden Courier-Post * October 31, 1940

Stanley Geda
Raymond Smith

Camden Courier-Post * October 31, 1940








Stanley Geda - Whitman Avenue - Thomas Murphy - Stanley Gasior - Mechanic Street
George Pestridge - George Hess Sr. -
Merrimac Road - Collings Road - William Hastings
Charles Craig -
Mary Kobus - Raymond Smith - John Githens - Monitor Road - West Jersey Cafe
Gene R. Mariano - John Miller - Clinton Street - Federal Street - Albert Brager

Camden Courier-Post * July 1, 1941

The photograph on the left shows Edward Friant, of 124 North Thirtieth Street, descending from a tall building on a rope by using a life belt. The center scene depicts Charles Geitz, of 465 Mechanic Street, left, and Nicholas Iacovelli, or 1303 Decatur street, using asbestos suits in the middle of roaring flames. The suits, according to Fire Captain Ray Smith, instructor at the school, are able to withstand 1,750 degrees of heat. Ernest Wilkinson, of 1304 Park boulevard, is the man behind the mask on the right shown emerging from a building filled with formaldehyde gas.

Camden Courier-Post * July 1, 1941
50 Volunteer Firemen Complete Training for Emergency Duties
Graduates First of 500 to Be Trained by City for Huge Reserve
Similar to that in London; Defense Officials Praise Work

Camden's first group of war and emergency volunteer firemen received their "diplomas" last night on completion or their training at the fire school in No. 10 firehouse, Ninth street and Morgan boulevard.

They are the initial volunteers to be trained as a reserve for the city fire department in an emergency. The volunteers, 50 of them, will be on 24-hour call. Eventually more than 500 men are expected to receive the training course for a huge reserve similar to the corps of firemen now being used in London. 

The men range in ages from 11 to 59 years with Charles Smith, son of Sgt. Ray Smith, being the youngest, and Harry L. Freidel, the oldest. 

The training course started May 12 and the trainees have attended three sessions a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights, for seven weeks under the direction of Fire Captain Raymond Smith, no relation to the sergeant, who is director of the training school. Smith is a graduate of Class 56, of the Philadelphia Fire Training School.

Each volunteer fireman will be issued an identification card which will hold his fingerprints. 

Class Praised 

Among those congratulating the graduates were Herbert E. Harper, chairman of the Camden Defense Council; William C. Schriver, council member; Fire Chief John Lennox and Captain Smith. Howard Odrain, deputy chief of the Philadelphia Fire Department with 31 years of experience in fighting fires, attended as an observer. 

"In behalf of the Camden City Defense Council, I want to thank you men for the hours and days you have put into taking this course," Harper told the graduates,

"You have been prompt in attendance and have been attentive. We don't anticipate any air raids or any acts of war-invasion, but we have an important problem in enabling national defense Industries in Camden city to make load in their Jobs. 

"The sabotage committee of the defense council has been visiting the local Industries encouraging the plants to set up their own fire fighting squads and many are doing so. You men will be needed in times of an emergency to aid these forces and to assist at industries where there is no fire fighting squads." 

Chief Lennox termed the volunteers "our second line of defense" and thanked them for their cooperation. 

Training Complete 

The course included training In all phases of fire-fighting from operating pumpers to climbing ladders and combating incendiaries, Rescue work also was included. The use of gas masks and asbestos suits in chemical firs, how to approach delayed bombs with snubbers and the proper methods of using extinguishers were taught. 
A demonstration was held outside the firehouse by the volunteers. Their activities included scaling ladders, using gas masks to enter a smoke house, climbing and working on the top of the fire tower, using an aerial truck, tying tools for the lifting to tools, working on the end of water lines, working on pumpers, hooking up to stand pipes, jumping into life nets, tying life ropes and using asbestos suits through flaming gasoline and oil. 

The Class 

The graduates included: George D. Wilkinson, fire marshal of the RCA Manufacturing Company, and his two sons, Ernest and George; Garfield Watson, sergeant of police at New York Shipbuilding Corporation; Lieut. George Hamilton, Jr., of the 157th Field Artillery; Captain William Hare, of the Kaighn Avenue-South Street Ferry. 

Harry B. Thompson, Earl Denby, Lester W. Giberson, Norman P. Maull, Joseph Leone, Samuel Schuele, George P. Smith, Joseph Marchese, Nicholas A. Messaro, Willam S. Martz, William E. Doan, Elwood P. Martz, Jr., Clyde Getzinger, George W. Grove, Stephen Kirby, James W. McCracken, William Watkin, Manuel Weiss, Riccardo DiGiacomo, Louis Cimini, William P. Walter, Sigmund Yakaski, Nicholas Iacovelli, Robert Holmes, Walter D. Lohrman.

Myer J. Mutter, Charles Geitz, Charles A. B. Smith, Howard Doerschner, Harry L. Freidel, Franklin L. Wright, Paul W. Kessler, Warren I. Carter, Creston Polland, Edward E. Friant, Frank F. Shropshire, Charles Gall, Albert E. Pine, Nicholas Cerasoli, George W. Williams, Joseph G. Foster, Joseph Elliott, George Hance and Irving L. Stiefel.

Camden Courier-Post * July 3, 1942

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Tom Ryan - E. Allen Hughes - Herman Silvers - Paul Campbell - Louis Leigh - Ralph Gaudio
Mary Kobus - Helen Appleton
North 6th Street -
Kaighn Avenue - Merrimac Road
Camden Coke
- Camden Fire Department Engine Company 8