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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 Squadron Crest
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

Serial: BL849

Code: YO-S

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.


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.

Burial details:

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:

KTY - 05.10.2017

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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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