World War II Honor Roll

Charles A. B. Smith

Private, U.S. Army Air Force


2678th Civil Affairs Regiment

Entered the Service from: New Jersey
Died: July 29, 1944
Buried at: Arlington Cemetery
                 Cove Road
                 Pennsauken NJ


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.

From the pages of
The Morning Post
Camden, N.J. June 12, 1942

Smith's Son, Fireman's Mascot, 
Leaves School to Enlist in Army

Strapping, Six-foot Camden High Athlete 'Natural' 
to Make a Good Soldier if He Follows in 
Hero Father's Footsteps

Sergeant Ray Smith started to remonstrate when his son, Charles, broke the news he was enlisting in the Army.
     But not for long. Because "Charlie" had a good argument.
"Why, Dad, you were only 17 when you enlisted," he said. "I'm 18, so why shouldn't I go now?"
     Ray Smith, Courier-Post reporter, hero of the first World War and former heavy-weight champion of the AEF, looked at his strapping six-foot, 209-pound boy. He knew a good argument when he saw one.
     "Okay, son. Go to it."
     And that was how Charles A.B. Smith, son of Ray and Mabel Smith, won permission to enlist.
     A Camden High junior and member of the soccer team, "Charlie" is a "natural" to make a good soldier, if he follows in his dad's footsteps. Now stationed at the Fort Dix reception center, he hopes to be assigned to the quartermaster or fire departments.
     And there's a story to that, too. For Young Smith knows more about fires, especially in Camden, than perhaps anyone else in the city except members of the department.
     For several years he has been a familiar figure at every fore, following the apparatus on his bicycle. And he often sent in good news reports of these blazes when his dad was busy elsewhere. he has kept a list of every fore in the past two years in Camden.
     He is a friend of every fireman, and, in fact, was considered their mascot.
     Sergeant Ray is mighty proud of his son.
     "He's a normal youngster who appreciates what America means to him," said Ray. "He knows this is an all-out war and that it is the duty of every patriotic American to do his bit."
     Ray himself did plenty during his 27 months service overseas in the first war.
     Wounded in three engagements, his bravery won him the Croix de Guerre with palm, presented to him by Marshal Petain.
     During his service overseas, Ray won the heavyweight boxing championship of the AEF.

PRIVATE CHARLES AUGUSTUS BODINE SMITH was born on March 29, 1924. He dropped out of Camden High School, where he would have graduated in June 1943, to join the Army. He was the son of Camden Police Sergeant, former pro boxer and later  NJ State Boxing official Ray Smith and his wife Mabel Nash Smith. A fire department aficionado, Charles Smith was the youngest auxiliary fireman in the city of Camden. He had lived at 31 North 25th Street, then at 212 North 27th Street, near the fire station in East Camden. 

After his enlistment, Private Smith trained in New York, and served at Fort Dix. On October 4, 1942 it was reported that he had been taken to the Philadelphia Naval Hospital for an emergency appendectomy in the Camden Courier-Post. 

After recovering from the surgery, Private Smith was for a time assigned to the 1130th Military Police Company, Army Air Force, based at Wellston Air Depot at Robins Field in Warner Robins GA. He was later sent to the United Kingdom. While in England, he was inducted into the Veterans of Foreign War East Camden Post 705 on Federal Street, a short walk from his home, on February 20, 1944. He was stationed at Fort Dix NJ when his mother passed on March 8, 1944, and received a furlough home for the funeral, after which he was transferred to the 2678th Civil Affairs Regiment in Algeria, where he died of injuries on July 29, 1944. He was 20 years old.

Charles A.B. Smith's death was reported in the the August 10, 1944 edition of the Camden Courier-Post. His father subsequently moved to Erial NJ, where he opened the Charles A.B. Smith Home for Crippled Children, and remained active in charitable work for many years thereafter.

Private Smith was brought home to New Jersey after the war. He was buried at Arlington Cemetery in Pennsauken NJ on March 5, 1949.


October 5, 1942

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Camden Courier-Post - March 9, 1944

Camden Courier-Post

February 21, 1944


February 28, 1949

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March 5, 1949

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