The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. F R Walker-Smith
Francis Richard Walker-Smith, of Stanley Common, Derbyshire, was born on 29th January 1917.
He attended Bemrose School before joining the RAFVR on 8th January 1938 as an Airman u/t Pilot.
Called to full-time service on 1st September 1939, Walker-Smith was posted to 9 FTS, Hullavington on 6th December. He passed out on 11th April 1940 and after converting to Hurricanes at 5 OTU, Aston Down he joined 85 Squadron in France on 15th May.
Walker-Smith claimed two Me110s destroyed on 18th August, a Do17 on the 26th and a Me109 on the 28th. He was shot down in combat with Me109s off the Sussex Coast on the 29th. He baled out, wounded in the foot, landing at Hawkhurst. His Hurricane, V7350, crashed on Underwood Farm, near the River Dudwell, Etchingham.
In March 1941 Walker-Smith was commissioned. On the 13th he took off in a Havoc from Debden, flying as second pilot to Geoffrey Allard and with P/O WH Hodgson as passenger. Shortly afterwards the aircraft crashed at Mill Field Ley, just south of Wimbish. The three pilots were killed. It is believed that an insecurely-fastened nose panel flew off and jammed in the rudder, causing the aircraft to became uncontrollable.
Walker-Smith is buried in Saffron Walden Borough Cemetery.
A notice from 1943 stated that 'A tablet commemorating Walker-Smith has been unveiled in Spondon Church by his colleagues in Rolls Royce'.