The Airmen's Stories - AC2 F Smith
Frank Smith joined the RAF about April 1940 as an Aircrafthand. In late June Smith was sent to Yatesbury to retrain as a WOp/AG. However he was placed on an airborne radar course instead and on qualifying in late July he was posted to 604 Squadron at Gravesend.
He had yet to fly in an aircraft.
Smith flew operationally with 604, firstly in Blenheims and then Beaufighters until December 1940. He then went back to Yatesbury for an advanced radar course. In these five months with 604 Smith flew without rank or flying badge and received three shillings per day, this included an extra one shilling flying pay.
In January 1941 Smith was posted to a radar station at Saligo, Islay, Scotland. He later returned to flying duties and was killed on the night of 4th/5th September 1942 as a Sergeant with 12 Squadron, operating in Wellingtons from Binbrook.
Wellington Z8595 was on a sortie to Bremen when it had to turn back at the Dutch coast with failing engines. Despite jettisoning the bomb load, height could not be maintained and the Wellington ditched about 20 miles off Cromer, Norfolk. Sgt. T Smith, the pilot and sole survivor, was picked up after spending three hours in the water by HMS Hambleton and on reaching port he was admitted to Felixstowe Hospital.
Apart from Frank Smith also lost were:
P/O AS Needham
Sgt. RWL Mills RCAF
Sgt. W Anderson
Smith is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, panel 93.
Above image courtesy of Dean Sumner