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The Airmen's Stories - P/O P C Wickings-Smith


Peter Claude Wickings-Smith, of Bedford, was born on 22nd June 1919 in Southend-on Sea, the son of Claude Trebeck Wickings-Smith and Vera Frances Wickings-Smith (nee Collingridge).

He had two uncles, Basil Guilford and Cyril Wickings-Smith. Both were aboard the RMS Lusitania when it was sunk off Ireland by a U-boat on 7th May 1915.

Cyril was accompanied by his wife Phyllis and their infant daughter Nancy.

The Imperial War Museum holds the accounts of survivors and one, Gertrude Adams, said that Basil managed to go below decks while the ship was sinking to retrieve lifejackets. He distributed them and then gave his own to Gertrude.

Phyllis attempted to get into lifeboat number 11 with Nancy, but was held back as it was full. She threw Nancy into the boat and she was caught by passsenger Francis Luker as the boat departed.

She and Cyril were taken off by a another lifeboat and later reunited with Nancy. Basil was one of 1198 people lost.

He is commemorated on the Halifax Memorial in Nova Scotia, Canada.


PC Wickings-Smith was educated at Bloxham School.

He joined the RAF on a short service commission in August 1939. After completing his training at 9 FTS he went to 5 OTU Aston Down in mid-July 1940.

He crashed on the aerodrome on the 25th in Blenheim K7166 but was unhurt. After converting to Blenheims he joined 235 Squadron on 5th August 1940.



On 11th September 1940 Wickings-Smith was captain of Blenheim IV L9396 QY*E escorting Albacores of 826 (FAA) Squadron which were attacking a convoy off Calais.

The Blenheim was shot down into the Channel by Me109s of 1./JG52 and III./JG53. Wickings-Smith, Sgt. RDH Watts and P/O AWV Green were all lost.

Wickings-Smith was 22. He is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 10.


Above image courtesy of Dean Sumner.


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