Vincent Smith grew up in the West Midlands of England at a time when it was still known as and looked like the Black Country. At the age of sixteen he came to Australia — one of more than a million ‘ten pound Poms’ — who looked for a better life in the sunshine.
For more than thirty years he has served as an Army chaplain and an honorary chaplain to the police and emergency services. It was through these experiences that he developed an awareness of the effects of traumatic stress on people. He has had a long and abiding interest in the era surrounding World War 1 and, as a theological student in the 1960s, used to visit veterans of that terrible conflict who were still confined to old wooden wards in the Concord Repatriation Hospital. The people he met there and the stories passed down to him about his own grandfathers, who served on the Western Front, sowed the seeds that became Blow the Wind Southerly