SMITH – Frank Dudley

1800672 – F.D. Smith – Jamaica – attested 30.12.41 – Ach/Pilot
P/O – commissioned 20.8.43

[Source: NA AIR 2/6876 – Nominal Roll of Coloured Candidates, October 1944]

Service no. on Commission  153220

[Courtesy AD]

F/Lt Frank Dudley Smith (MBE)

[Picture courtesy Smith Family]

Frank Smith left his home in Kingston, Jamaica to go to war in 1941. Trained initially at Greenwood, Nova Scotia, the RCAF and RAF base that was part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, he passed all the necessary tests to become a navigator and was commissioned as a Flight Lieutenant in early 1943. A further period with the Air Navigation School in Hamilton, Ontario followed, and his logbook suggests he first flew as a Mosquito navigator on 14 September 1943 with pilot Flight Lieutenant Ross Gray. Frank was finally signed off as having “V. G. all round ability and an above average pupil in all respects”.

On 17 April 1944, still with Flight Lieutenant Gray, he was assigned to the RCAF’s 418 Squadron – Canada’s highest-scoring squadron in World War II for both air-to-air and air-to-ground kills, in day and night operations over occupied Europe, according to one authority. He flew in action in France over the Seine Region, Chartres, St. Michel, Amiens, Clermont Ferrand and the Meuse-Rhine area, as well as Denmark and Brussels and, on 6 June 1944, the Normandy beaches, according to his logbook, which is extant.

For his service, Flight Lieutenant Smith was awarded the 1939–1945 Star, which was the overseas war service star for WW II. To earn this star soldiers had to complete six months of active service. He was also awarded the France and Germany Star, granted for operational service on land in France, Belgium, Holland or Germany after the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944 until 8 May 1945, the date of the end of active hostilities in Europe.

[Text Donna Wynter]

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