The Empress of Australia: A post-war memoir featured author Harry Leslie Smith is an amazing man who has had an amazing life! To say that Harry Smith was born under an unlucky star would be an understatement. Born in England in 1923, Harry began to chronicle the tragic story of his early life in the first volume of his memoirs, 1923: A Memoir Lies and Testaments. He presents his family’s early history—their misfortunes and their experiences of enduring betrayal, inhumane poverty, infidelity, and abandonment. Today we are celebrating the release of his latest book:

In the winter of 1948, a post-war darkness felled Britain and happiness, like sweets, was tightly rationed. So begins Harry Leslie Smith’s bitter-sweet memoir: The Empress of Australia which depicts life in post-war Yorkshire. Recently demobbed from the RAF, Smith and his German war bride must try to adjust to a civilian society that is scarred from not only the war but the harsh reality of living in peacetime Britain.

At first, Harry Leslie Smith finds himself ill equipped for this brave new world where Britain has lost its empire and is bankrupt. Yet, like so many other returning veterans from the Second World War, Smith stumbled onwards through the era known as the “Age of Austerity” to confront the horrors of his childhood and the innate injustice of a society divided by class.

Harry Leslie Smith sketches a real, sometimes amusing and sometimes melancholic portrait of Britain in the late 1940s. In his book, Smith speaks for all generations who have faced untold hardships in their quest for dignity and purpose during times of financial, political and familial upheaval. The Empress of Australia is a personal history of one man’s journey towards self discovery and freedom from row house Britain.

Sometimes, after the war, peace is the hardest battle to survive.

About Harry:

Harry was born in 1923, in Barnsley Yorkshire. He is a Second World War veteran who served with the RAF. Following the war, Smith remained in the Royal Air Force and was stationed in Hamburg Germany as part of the allied occupation force. During his military tour in Germany, Harry Leslie Smith developed a strong attachment to the German people and their culture. Following his service in Germany, Smith was demobbed and returned to Yorkshire. In the 1950’s Harry Leslie Smith became disillusioned with life in Britain and emigrated with his wife to Canada. Following a successful career in the Oriental carpet trade which lasted close to fifty years, Smith finally retired to follow his true calling: exploring the social history of his generation through memoirs, essays and public speaking events. Harry Leslie Smith’s essays have been featured in Canada’s National Newspaper The Globe and Mail Facts and Argument Section, numerous journals and through on line platforms. He is an accomplished speaker that has told the history of his life and his generation during the Great Depression and the Second World War to schools, colleges and professional associations. He is the author of 1923: A Memoir, Hamburg 1947, The Barley Hole Chronicles, 1953: The Empress of Australia. Currently, Harry Leslie Smith is working on a memoir of Toronto in the 1950’s as well as a book about Ex Pats in Portugal. Nearly 90, he still has miles to go before he sleeps.

To find out more about Harry visit:

Author page:

FaceBook 1923 A Memoir:
Twitter Account @1923Memoir:!/1923Memoir
Author Website:
Where to buy your copy of The Empress of Australia:

Please leave a comment

  1. Janice Horton Says:

    Congratulations on publication of The Empress of Australia, Harry – wishing you well. xx

  2. Nicky Wells Says:

    HUGE congratulations, Harry ~ what an achievement! Have a fantastic day and sell lots of books! X

  3. Stephanie Keyes Says:

    Congratulations on your launch, Harry. I just wish you all of the success in the world.

  4. Mandy Baggot Says:

    Congratulations Harry! I hope the launch goes brilliantly!

  5. Kit Domino Says:

    Congratulations, Harry. Have a fantastic day and wishing you every success.

  6. Emma Calin Says:

    Wishing you all the best for the launch of your new book!

  7. Melanie Robertson-King Says:

    Congratulations, Harry! Enjoy your launch day! You’ve earned it. Hope you sell loads of books.

  8. richard holmes Says:

    Rock it to ’em Harry! Nice one!!!!!

  9. Miriam Wakerly Says:

    Your books look fascinating, Harry, and I realise I should have already downloaded the first one! I now have both on my Kindle and look forward to reading them immensely. I shall think of my parents and the era they knew before I was born.

  10. Sheryl Browne Says:

    I love this, Harry! ‘Sometimes, after the war, peace is the hardest battle to survive.’ Huge CONGRATS. Off shopping. 🙂 xx

  11. anneli Says:

    I’m looking forward to reading The Empress of Australia. I enjoyed Hamburg 1947 and have been waiting for this “sequel.” Congrats on your launch, Harry.

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