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The Airmen's Stories - P/O JL Smithers


Julian Langley Smithers was born in Knockholt, Kent on 17th December 1915 and was educated at Eton, where he became Captain of the House. 17 of the 47 house members would lose their lives in the coming war.

He entered the City when he went to work in his father's stockbroking firm, Ackroyd & Smithers, and he became a member of the Stock Exchange in early 1940.

He played the organ at St.Katherine's Church in Knockholt.

In 1938 Smithers joined 601 Squadron, Auxiliary Air Force. He was called to full-time service on 24th August 1939. After completing his training Smithers arrived at 5 OTU Aston Down on 6th May 1940.


Above image courtesy of Cheryl Ludgate




He converted to Hurricanes and rejoined 601 in late May.

On 11th August he was shot down and killed during a combat off Portland and crashed into the sea, in Hurricane P3885.

Smithers was 24. His body was washed up in Eletot, north of Fecamp in France and buried in the local churchyard by the villagers. He is now buried in Sainte Marie Cemetery, Le Havre, France.

His brother, 2/Lt. Alfred John Langley Smithers, was killed in action with the Inns of Court Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps on 25th November 1941 and is commemorated on the Alamein Memorial.

Both brothers are commemorated by plaques in St. Katherine's Church.








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