Smith, Cecil Thomas (1904-1978)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

CECIL THOMAS SMITH: born at Grantham on 7th April 1904 of staunch Methodist parents. He grew up in Lincoln and, after training as a cost clerk, heard the call to the ministry. He entered Hartley College in 1925 and, after two years, went out to Nigeria. He served in the Eastern Nigeria District from 1927 to 1935 and played a worthy part in the development work in rural areas, opening up village schools and establishing dispensaries. He travelled constantly on foot or cycle, and growth in later years owed much to the solid foundation he laid. 

In 1929 he married Dorothy Caroline Powers of Lincoln and she shared fully in the work among Ibo, Ogani and Opobo peoples. On return to England, after three years in the Newport (Stow Hill) Circuit and one year in the Cleethorpes (Trinity) Circuit, he became an army chaplain with the 5th Battalion Welsh Regiment. When war broke out he served in the Narvik campaign and was wounded. After recovering in Northern Ireland, he landed in Normandy on D day with the 77th Field Hospital.

After the war he went to Antigua in the Leeward Islands District as Superintendent minister from 1945 to 1951. On return to this country he served in the Rotherham, Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton, Hornsea (Market Place) and Hornsea Circuits where his interest in education led him into school Management appointments and where he was visiting minister in a mental hospital. 

He brought a precise and business-like mind to all he did. He had a quick sense of humour and a deep concern for people and his love for children gained their ready response. His preaching was clear and forceful and he continued to preach most acceptably during his retirement in Dartmouth until ill-health intervened. 

He died suddenly in hospital on 23rd November 1978 in the seventy-fifth year of his age and the fifty-second year of his ministry.


Cecil was born on 7 April 1904 at Grantham, Lincolnshire, to parents William Smith, a labourer (1911), and Alice Maud Wilcockson.

He married Dorothy Caroline Powers (1904-1988) in the summer of 1929 at Lincoln, Lincolnshire. Birth records identify two children.

  • John A D (b1932)
  • Patrick B (b1935)

Cecil died on 23 November 1978 in the Exeter, Registration District Devon.


  • Hartley
  • 1927 E Nigeria
  • 1935 Newport Stow H
  • 1938 Cleethorpes Trinity
  • 1940 Chaplain H.M. Forces
  • 1945 Leeward islands
  • 1951 Rotherham
  • 1854 Exmouth &c
  • 1960 Hornsea market Place
  • 1969 Dartmouth
  • 1974 Dartmouth (S)


Methodist Minutes 1979/88

W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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