Cemeteries and graveyards, full of love, betrayal, tragic deaths, murder, and suicide. What will you find?

Friday 21 September 2012

Donovan Foster Smart - 'Shorty'

Taphophilia is a passion for and enjoyment of cemeteries. The singular term is a taphophile.

Monument to Donovan Foster Smart 'Shorty' and Mary Ann Foster, All Saints Chutchyard, Bisham, Berkshire.

"Donovan Foster Smart 'Shorty' December 1 1934 Aged 28 years
Mary Ann Foster September 11 1936 Aged 81 years."

Donovan Foster Smart was born in Chingford, Essex in 1906, eldest child of Harry Casimir Smart, an Austrailian working in the Publicity Branch of the Austrailian Government Office in the UK, and Daisy Hope Foster.

Living with the Smart family in 1911 was Daisy's mother Mary Ann Foster and sister Grace Foster.

Mary Ann Foster was born Mary Ann Scudamore in Bishopsgate, Middlesex 1856 to Robert Scudamore, a Lithographic Printer and his wife Elizabeth.  On 21st November 1880 Mary Ann married Henry William Foster in Hackney, London.  Along with Henry's five children from his previous marriage, Helen, Symons, Mary Ann, Ethel, Gertrude and Harold, Henry and Mary Ann had three children of their own, Sidney Kirkman, Daisy Hope and Grace.

Sadly Mary Ann was widowed in 1898 after 18 years of marriged when Henry passed away.

One question that keeps popping up, why was Donovan known as Shorty and why was his nickname placed on his grave stone?

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  1. Shorty was quite young when he died - I wonder what happened to him.

  2. Don died of venereal disease after hanging out with a well bred aristocratic lady! No effective treatment back then. There were 6 sisters and 2 brothers, my dad Ralph was Don's brother. I never met my uncle Don as he died before I was born. Ralph Foster Smart was in films and TV. Youngest sister Patsy was an actress. Oldest Peggy ran tea rooms in the Isle of Wight, Dunnose Cottage, The Old Thatch Shanklin, and one above a store in Ryde and one in Newport. Daisy Hope Foster was an amazing person who grew all the veggies & fruit for Dunnose cottage, planted and managed the beautiful flower garden, cooked all the cakes until Peggy took over after she had learnt how to with a special hi tech cake oven she bought. Granny Smart also made all the chair covers, lamp shades lamp bases she was a human dynamo of energy. Harry Casimir Smart was the guy who persuaded the Australian photographer Frank Hurley to make composite pictures of his war photos for an Australian stand at a big exhibition in London to show people what it really felt like to be on a battle field, because it was not possible to capture the atmosphere with the bulky slow cameras of the time. They both got into trouble with the Australian Government but the collages were wildly popular with visitors to the exhibition until they were removed because they were too much "out there". I have 4 kids, Patrick, Annick, Ralph & Neil from my wife Marie Therese LeGuen, we are now seperated. Thanks for the photo of the stone & info, shalom, Robert.

    1. Hello Robert. Thank you so much for visiting my blog and your comment.

      Also thank you for the wonderful information you have given. It is always nice to hear about the people I have 'visited' and researched as there is only so much I can find out through the internet.

      The churchyard that Donovan and Mary Ann are buried in is very peaceful and beautiful place backing onto the River Thames. Well wirth a visit is you are ever able to make it.

      I hope you and your family have a wonderful 2013!


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