Collier Row navy veteran, 93, is oldest former Leyton Orient player
PUBLISHED: 08:01 12 August 2014 | UPDATED: 08:18 12 August 2014
A 93-year-old who once sailed freezing oceans avoiding attacks from Russian submarines and moonlighted for Leyton Orient while on shore leave has now been heralded the club’s oldest former player.
The Second World War was in full swing while Stanley Goldsmith, of Paines Brook Court, Collier Row, was in London training as a wireless operator when he received the call to arms to play for the O’s.
The club wrote to the telegraphist’s lieutenant to ask if he could play for them in 1942.
“The lieutenant said ‘yeah we don’t mind what he does in his spare time’,” Mr Goldsmith’s son Peter, 56, said.
Orient has congratulated him being their longest standing former player following his 93rd birthday.
The winger told the Recorder that he was “proud” to represent the club for a few games for the reserve team before having to take to the seas to join the perilous Arctic convoys.
“It was very dangerous,” said Peter, of Ayr Way, Rise Park. “As a telegraphist he was in the middle of the ship in a metal room doing Morse code trying to find out what was going on.
“It’s moving around all over the place and their’s U-boats under the ship but he wouldn’t know anything about it until they were hit. Thank god he never was.”
The Russian government recently awarded Mr Goldsmith the Ushakov medal for his efforts.
Back on dry land he then played for an English military team in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and refereed when he returned to the UK up until he was 68.
Orient media manager Jonny Davies said: “Stanley has lived a fascinating life which I was interested to read about and I’m glad that he still keeps an eye on the O’s and makes the journey over to watch us now and again.”