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The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. E B B Smith

 

Edward Brian Bretherton Smith was born in Formby, Lancashire on 12th January 1915. He was educated at King William’s School in the Isle of Man and for five years worked in the brewing industry.
He joined 610 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force in 1936 and was called to full-time service on 24th August 1939. Over Dunkirk on 27th May 1940 he destroyed a He111.

On 3rd July Smith shared a Do17, on the 9th damaged another, on the 24th he destroyed a Me109, probably another and damaged a third, on the 25th he destroyed a Me109, on the 29th he damaged a Do17 and on 11th August he shot down a He59 off Calais.

 


On the 12th Smith was shot down in flames in a combat near New Romney in Spitfire K9818. He baled out and came down in the sea eight miles off the coast. He was rescued by a Royal Navy trawler, the captain turned out to be a friend from school. He was landed at Dover and admitted to Dover Hospital with burns.

Smith was awarded the DFC (gazetted 30th August 1940), credited with the destruction of six enemy aircraft. Once recovered from his burns he rejoined the squadron but was posted away in December 1940 to 2 CFS Cranwell as an instructor.

In 1941/2 Smith served at 12, 17, 19 and 24 EFTSs and 10 FS Reading.

In June 1943 he left for North Africa and served on the air staff at the time of the invasion of Sicily and Italy. He commanded the Advanced Flying Unit at Setif in Algeria, established to provide new fighter pilots with in-theatre training before they moved on to fighter squadrons in the Mediterranean area.

In May 1944 Smith formed and commanded a parachute training school based on an airfield in southern Italy with the task of preparing troops and agents for operations in Italy and the Balkans. He jumped regularly with his instructors and with his dog Sally, who had her own parachute.

After service with the HQ of the Balkan Air Force, Smith left the RAF in February 1946. He received the Air Efficiency Award.

Smith returned to west Lancashire and joined J Bibby & Sons, which specialised in animal feeds. He was an area manager, initially working in Liverpool, but later operated from other centres around the country before settling in Worcestershire.

He married Pamela, a former WAAF, in 1940. She died in 2002 and a son also predeceased him. He is survived by two sons.

Smith died on 15th September 2013.

 

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