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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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401 / 1 squadron RCAF
15.09.1940 No. 1 RCAF Hurricane I P3876 F/O. Smither

Operation: Patrol

Date: 15th September 1940 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 1 squadron (RCAF)

Type: Hurricane MkI

Serial: P3876

Code: YO-?

Base: RAF Northolt

Location: Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Pilot: F/O. Ross Smither C/1594 RCAF Age 30. Killed


Aircraft in combat with Bf-109’s, shot down while over Tunbridge Wells in Kent at 12:10 hrs. F/O Smither was killed.

During the same operation F/O. Arthur Deane Nesbitt C/1327 RCAF was also attacked, shot down but managed to bale out despite being wounded. He survived after treatment and rejoined his unit. Retired in November 1945 as a Group Captain. Passed away aged 68 on the 22nd February 1978 from injuries suffered in a skiing accident.

Later another Hurricane from the squadron was also hit. The pilot F/O. Arthur Mcleod Yuile C/1328 RCAF managed to nurse the damaged Hurricane L1973 back to base, despite a wound in his shoulder. The valuable aircraft was repaired and placed back into service.

Note: F/O. Smither’s brother, 21 year old, P/O. Sydney Frank Smither J/7825 RCAF also lost his life whilst with 401 Squadron.

On this day during the final days of the Battle of Britain some 15 aircrew were killed, 1 taken PoW, 27 valuable aircraft lost.

Burial details:

F/O. Ross Smither. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 3.H.1. Born on the 12th November 1912, the son of Frank and Susan Smither of Rathgan Street, London, Ontario, Canada.

Researched by Michel Beckers with thanks to Michel Smither for photographs, plaque photograph from the collection of Michel Beckers.

MB 18.09.2018

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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