The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. F M Smith
Forgrave Marshall Smith was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on 17th August 1913. He learned to fly at the Edmonton Aero Club and joined the RAF on a short service commission in January 1936.
Smith was posted to 3 FTS Grantham on 14th March and after completing his training he joined 72 Squadron at Church Fenton on 22nd March 1937.
Still with the squadron in 1940, Smith shared in the destruction of a Do17 on 29th June. He claimed two Ju88's destroyed and another probably destroyed on 15th August and was himself shot down on the 31st, during a combat over Dungeness. He baled out, wounded and badly burned. His Spitfire, P9438, crashed near New Romney.
After three months in hospital Smith returned to 72. He was promoted and posted to command 603 Squadron at Drem on 1st April 1941. He damaged a Me109 on 14th June. Smith left the squadron on 24th July and on 14th August went to 52 OTU Debden as CFI.
Smith formed and then briefly commanded 175 Squadron from 3rd March 1942 until he was posted to India as CFI at Risalpur. After a course at RAF Staff College Haifa he returned to India and became Wing Commander Ops at Air HQ New Delhi. Smith returned to the UK for a course at the Fighter Leaders School and again returned to India, this time to command 902 Wing.
He was detached to the Wing to be Joint Assault Commander for the invasion of Ramree Island, on the Arakan coast. In May 1945 Smith was detached for the invasion of Rangoon, with the task of establishing an airfield. He remained with 902 Wing until late 1945.
He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 30th October 1945).
Smith retired from the RAF on 13th October 1957 as a Wing Commander.
He worked for BP until retirement. Smith died in 1994.