R.C.A.F. Squadron Helping To Decimate
Born in London, Ontario, 17 August 1915;
NOTE: On a form dated 19 July 1945
Died in London Ontario, 17 November 1965.
AFRO 513/43 dated 26 March 1943 (reporting his DFC) &
Ottawa, November 26, 1942 - (CP) - Men of the R.C.A.F.,
flying with the R.A.F.’s famous Shark Squadron in the British offensive
which routed Rommel's Africa Corps, "accounted for" nine enemy
planes in two days, R.C.A.F. headquarters said today.
The squadron's total bag in that period at the start of the 8th Army's westward surge was thirteen enemy aircraft.
The activities of the Canadian airmen - one and perhaps two of them citizens of the United States - were cited as an instance of the leading part R.C.A.F. fliers are playing in the current African operations.
These are the R.C.A.F, men flying fighter-bombers with the Shark Squadron, oldest air force unit in point of service on the desert front, who accounted for the Nazi machines:
Flight Sergeant D. Rowan, Virden, Man., two Stukas destroyed.
Flight Sergeant Dick DeBourke, Boston, two Stukas destroyed, one probably destroyed.
Flight Sergeant, E.C.C. Smith, Windsor and Detroit, one Stuka confirmed, one probable.
Pilot Officer L.H. Curphey, Ottawa, one plane destroyed.
Flying Officer Joe Crichton, Chapleau, Ont., one plane destroyed.
The basis for the Air Force statement was a report from an R.C.A.F. public relations officer with the Canadians in the Middle East. The statement said Canadian airmen were "well to the fore" and "accounted for eight Stukas and one Messerschmitt 109.
While the statement did not list a Messerschmitt specifically in the bag of the Canadians named, an Air Force spokesman said possibly Curphey or Crichton got it.
The Shark Squadron gets its name from the jagged shark’s teeth painted on the noses of its aircraft, which became the "nemesis of the Germans both in the air and on the land."
"One of the great battles (of' the squadron) was on a day when they encountered a group of thirty Stukas with an escort of fifteen ME 109's," the R.C.A.F. officer said in his report.
"This was while they were returning to base after bombing an enemy airfield. Out numbered as they were they did not hesitate. They tore into the Germans with such speed that they forced the Nazi dive bombers to jettison their cargoes of bombs on their own trooplines.”
Mass formations of aircraft roared through the skies carrying tons of destruction in the early stages of the offensive, the report said, comparing the air traffic in some sectors to rush hour at the corner of King and Yonge Streets in Toronto.
It quoted Flight Lieutenant C.L. Shaper of Cornwall as saying; "There were so many bombers operating that we were dropping our loads in shifts. On our third trip we had to wait around until other bombers had completed their bombing before we could make a run at the target."
Flight Lieutenant R.R. Smith of London, Ont., who was on his second tour of operations after a layoff, described conditions in some enemy sectors as a "shambles."
SMITH, F/L Robert Rutherford (40952) - Distinguished
Flying Cross - No.112 Sq.
Awarded as per London Gazette 23 February 1943.
Flight Lieutenant Smith is a courageous fighter. In October 1942, on his first sortie with the squadron, he shot down one of four Messerschmitts which were intercepted. Some days later, during a bomber sortie, he destroyed an Italian aircraft after evading an enemy fighter which had pursued him. In December 1942, Flight Lieutenant Smith destroyed two enemy aircraft on one sortie, bringing his total victories to eight. He has displayed great keenness and determination.
London, Ont., June 29, 1943 — (CP) — An estimated
20,000 persons — one in every four here — have moved to London
during the past three years, a shifting population being war's most visible
mark in this city. A further 14,000 left the city during the same period
for service with the armed forces.
At least half a dozen Londoners have gained the Distinguished Flying Cross for service against the enemy and scores of others have received efficiency medals and citations of one kind or another. Those awarded the D.F.C. were F/L Robert R. Smith, W/C D. A. R. Bradshaw, W/C Keith Louis Hodson, F/L John Ingamells, F/L R. D. Grassick and F/L Bradley Walker.
An additional half-dozen from the city have been awarded the Order of the British Empire.
29 May 1940
1 Oct 1942
9.5 / 1 / 2 or 7.5 / 1 / 2
|[a] Aces High says probable
[b] Not shown in Aces High
[c] Aces High says 10 Dec.
Robert R. (Bob) Smith, 50, of 324 Belfield Rd., an ace
Battle of Britain fighter pilot, credited with destroying eight enemy
aircraft and winner of the Distinguished Flying Cross, died yesterday
in Westminster Hospital.
A native of London, Mr. Smith was a member of a small group of Canadians who joined the RAF early in the Second World War.
He fought over Dunkirk and in the desperate defense of the British Isles which followed
He was taken prisoner later while serving in North Africa.
He retired two years ago from the federal department of agriculture
He is survived by his wife, the former Betty Thomas; a son, Robert Gavin; two daughters, Sharon Lianne and Barbara Joanne, all at home; and his mother, Mrs. Cathleen Smith, of London.
Funeral service will be held Saturday with the Rev. David G.L. Rees, Church of the Redeemer, officiating at the George Logan and Sons funeral home. Cremation at Woodland Crematorium with burial in Woodland cemetery.
--- Canadian Aces ---
Thanks to Rob from the 112sq site & Bob Smith for the photo
these pages I use info from the Air
force Association of Canada's web site
in Hugh Halliday's excellent Honors & Awards section,
newspaper articles via the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation (CMCC)
as well as other sources both published and private