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Thread: Wg Cdr Duncan Smith DSO* DFC** and 126 Sqn (Malta/Operation Husky)?

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    Default Wg Cdr Duncan Smith DSO* DFC** and 126 Sqn (Malta/Operation Husky)?

    I am looking into the service of a Danish pilot in 126 Sqn (W/O Jens Ipsen) February-September 1943. He deserted the French Foreign Legion after the fall of France to join the RAF. Served in 234 Sqn (UK) in 1942, 126 Sqn (Malta) in 1943, 33 Sqn (Continent) 1944-45 and 276 Sqn (Continent) in 1945.

    As far as I can gather 126 Sqn was in "independent" squadron under AHQ Malta command, i.e. not part of a wing. So was 40 SAAF, 185, 229, 249 and 1495. Duncan Smith was CO 244 Wing at the time. Nevertheless on a number of occasions he seems to operate as part of/leading 126 Sqn in operations. E.g. on 14 July, six Spitfires from the squadron take off on a patrol of south-east Sicily. Wg Cdr Duncan Smith (JK722 'B') is the first mentioned pilot in the 126 Sqn ORB, while 40488 Wg Cdr Innes Bentall Westmacott DFC (JK950 'H') is mentioned second. Westmalcott was in charge of building/CO at Safi airfield, home of 126 Sqn.

    Was 126 Sqn operating de facto as part of 244 Wing at the time, or was Duncan-Smith just providing necessary command and combat experience to the squadron, when Sqn Ldr Jackson was not in the air?

    Any thoughts?

    Mikkel Plannthin
    Last edited by Mikkel Plannthin; 22nd April 2019 at 08:40.
    Britain's Victory, Denmark's Freedom. Danish Volunteers in Allied Air Forces During the Second World War
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    I suspect he was just joining in. Or rather they, as this does seem to be rather rank top-heavy a formation. Possibly this was an opportunity for him (them) to investigate the area of future operations.

    With 185, 229, 249 and 1435, 126 was a unit that had been in Malta for some time, including the siege, whereas 40 SAAF was not. It was a 1st TAF (Desert Air Force) unit that will have moved to Malta in preparations for operations against Italy (Sicily). However as a Tactical Recce unit it may not have been considered a part of any Fighter Wing organisation.

    PS for the curious, 1435 was the only RAF squadron with a four figure number. This was because it grew out of 1435 Flight as more aircraft and pilots became available on Malta, and officialdom turned something of a blind eye.

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    Wg Cdr W.G.G. Duncan Smith was OC of the Luqa Wing.
    "Luqa Wing now had a new Wing Leader, Wg Cdr W.G.G. Duncan Smith DSO DFC having arrived from the UK at the end of May, replacing Wg Cdr Thompson who had come to the end of his operational tour. On the morning of 3 June, Wg Cdr Duncan Smith (flying AR560 which still carried its previous owner's markings, JMT) and 1435 Squadron's CO, Sqn Ldr O'Neill (JK282/V U) set off at 0800 to escort a PR Spitfire flown by Wg Cdr Warburton to Syracuse."
    When 244 Wing arrived, 126 and 1435 Sqns moved to Safi (and newly formed Safi Wing) still under Wg Cdr Duncan Smith.
    Duncan Smith flew his personal Spitfire IX JK650 'DS' as a Luqa Wing OC, and later flew Spitfire IX MH884 'DS' from Corsica to Ravenna as Gp Capt and OC of 324 Wing 1944-45.
    Zoran

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    Thank you both. A great help. Zoran, what is the source of your quote?

    Kind regards

    Mikkel
    Britain's Victory, Denmark's Freedom. Danish Volunteers in Allied Air Forces During the Second World War
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    Quote is from document online http://users.libero.it/f.damico/velt...antelleria.doc
    Check also "Spitfires Over Sicily" by Brian Cull, Nicola Malizia & Frederick Galea and "Messerschmitts Over Sicily: Diary of a Luftwaffe Fighter Commander" by Johannes Steinhoff.
    https://youtu.be/_3SqO0eXFCE
    Spitfire AR560 JMT, Luqa Wing, flown by J.M. Thompson, and also later by Wg Cdr Duncan Smith.
    https://youtu.be/kGc4LnBG7fs?t=62
    Spitfire Mk IX MH884 coded DS, flown by RAF No. 324 Wing CO Gp Capt W Duncan Smith at Corsica

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    Thank you again, Zoran. Cull's book is in the wish list, but my wife seems to think that have enough books :-) Mikkel
    Britain's Victory, Denmark's Freedom. Danish Volunteers in Allied Air Forces During the Second World War
    fb.me/britainsvictorydenmarksfreedom
    danishww2pilots.dk - a resource on Danish aircrew during the Second World War

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