The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. W O L Smith
Wynford Ormonde Leoni Smith, the son of a bank clerk of Worthing, was born on 28th July 1915 in Hendon.
He attended St.Pauls School where he was the champion boxer in his weight class. On leaving he was employed by the Milk Marketing Board.
Above image courtesy of the Leoni-Smith family.
He joined the RAF on a short service commission in October 1935. He was posted to 6 FTS Netheravon on 19th October and, with training completed, he went to the School of Army Co-operation at Old Sarum for a course.
On 11th February 1937 Smith was posted to the Aircraft Depot Karachi, moving soon afterwards to 5 (Army Co-Operation) Squadron at Risalpur. He spent his leave in Australia where he became engaged.
It would appear that Smith was a flying instructor at No. 1 FTS Leuchars in Spring 1940. He joined 263 Squadron at Drem from No. 1 FTS on 20th June 1940.
In early July 1940 Smith was serving with 263 Squadron at Grangemouth as a Flight Commander. On the 13th he was involved in a night flying accident, crashing at Carstairs Junction Public School, Lanark, attempting to land in a built-up area. Smith was unhurt. His Hurricane, P2991, was written off.
He was killed on 29th December 1940 when he crashed near Bovey Tracey in Whirlwind P6975. This aircraft collided with another Whirlwind, P6978 (P/O DM Vine, also killed) when both were descending through poor visibility.
Smith was then a Flight Lieutenant, aged 25. He is buried in Exeter High Cemetery.
Above : HTL Smith.
Smith’s brother, Hugh Thomas Leoni Smith (born 6th February 1911), gained a Royal Aero Club aviators certificate through the London Air Park Flying Club on 23rd August 1939. He was a Pilot Officer in the RAFVR in 1940. The London Gazette for 11th November 1947 shows his appointment as a Flying Officer in the RAFVR (General Duties Branch) on 13th September that year. On 2nd July 1965 the Gazette recorded that HTL Smith, then living at West Horsley, Surrey, and a bank clerk by profession, had changed his name by deed poll on 28th June that year to Hugh Thomas Leoni Leoni-Smith. He died at West Horsley on 15th August 1965.