05.06.1942 No. 401 Squadron Spitfire Vb BL849 YO-S P/O. Smither
Operation: Circus 188
Date: 05th June 1942 (Friday)
Unit: No. 401 Squadron (The Rams)
Type: Spitfire Vb
Base: RAF Biggin Hill
Location: Abbeville, France
Pilot: P/O. Sydney Frank Smither J/7825 RCAF Age 21. Killed
We are extremely grateful to François Dutil (438 Squadron Archivist) for supplying photographs and information to Aircrew Remembered in October 2017. All photographs shown within this page are available to relatives at a higher resolution (as are most of those named within this page) - courtesy of François.
REASON FOR LOSS:
On a Circus operation (escorting of Bombers) in this case escorting 24 Bostons that were to attack Le Havre. All Bombers bombed their target and returned without loss. However, the escorting fighters were attacked by Me109’s.
8 Spitfires were lost with 5 pilots killed from various squadrons. Spitfire BL849 was the only one lost from 401 Squadron and crashed near Abbeville - killing the pilot.
The family of the pilot lost another son earlier in the war. On the 15th September 1940, 30 year old F/O. Ross Smither was shot down flying Hurricane P3876 over Tunbridge Wells in Kent, serving with 1 Squadron during the 'Battle of Britain'.
L-R: Fl/Sgt. Cosburn, P/O. Smither, P/O. Ferguson, P/O. Denison, Fl/Lt. Johnson, Fl/Sgt. Gimbel.
L-R: Fl/Sgt. McLennan, P/O. Morrison, Sgt. Mathewman, Fl/Lt. Tyre, Fl/Lt. Neal, P/O. Tucker, P/O. Smither, P/O. Whitham, Fl/Sgt. Cosburn, Fl/Lt. Merritt, Fl/Sgt. Gimbel, Fl/Sgt. Duff, Sq/Ldr. Hudson, P/O. Ferguson.
P/O. Sydney Frank Smither. Abbeville Communal Cemetery. Plot 5. Row A. Grave 20. Born on the 05th June 1921, the son of Frank and Susan Smither of Rathgan Street, London, Ontario, Canada and husband of Mary Daffodil Smither, of Farnham, Surrey. Grave inscription reads: “Greater Love Hath No Man Than This St. John Xv.13”.
F/O. Ross Smither. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 3H. 1. Born on the 12th November 1912. Details as above.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Francois Dutil and sources as quoted below: