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Thread: 177442 Sidney SMITH - D.F.C. citation?

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    Default 177442 Sidney SMITH - D.F.C. citation?

    Hello

    Can anyone tell me if there is a citation anywhere for the D.F.C. awarded to Flt. Lt. Sidney Smith of 186 Squadron in March 1945?

    Many thanks

    Simon

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    Hello again

    A quick update. I've had a look through the 186 Sqn ORB Form 541s between October 1944 and early 1945, and can see him on 15 Ops with 186 Squadron between October and December 1944. Nothing for January to March 1945.

    His Navigator on the majority of the Ops was J90173 P/O John Frederick Hartford, R.C.A.F., also awarded the D.F.C., and gazetted a week before Smith's. Hartford's citation from the RCAF Association website:

    This officer has completed many operations against heavily defended German targets with excellent results. On one occasion the control surfaces of his aircraft were severely damaged by anti-aircraft fire. With great ingenuity and resource, Pilot Officer Hartford assisted his pilot to improvise repairs with ropes and then navigated the aircraft safely back to base. His excellent navigational skill, determination and devotion to duty at all times have been most noteworthy.


    I wonder if Smith's D.F.C. award is for the same incident? Nothing untoward on any of the 13 Ops in the ORB Form 541 as far as I can see.

    Regards

    Simon
    Last edited by wwrsimon; 30th November 2019 at 18:34. Reason: Correction

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    Simon,

    Sidney Smith had previously served on No.90 Sqn. On 5 October, 1944, 'C' Flight, No.90 Sqn reformed as No.186 Sqn., at Tuddenham. Smith flew his last op with No.90 Sqn to CALAIS on 27 September, 1944. No.186 Sqn's (and Smith's), first op was flown to BONN, on 18 October, 1944:

    http://discovery.nationalarchives.go...ils/r/D8436567
    No.90 Sqn ORB (F.541) Record of Events - 1 Sept 1944 - 30 Sept 1944 - AIR 27/732/18 - Image No.68 of 71.

    It looks as if Smith picked up Hartford RCAF after transferring to No.186 Sqn (need to check!)..

    I haven't got the time to fully check Smith's career at No.90 Sqn., but it would be interesting to check if he flew a full tour with No.90/186 Sqns.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 1st December 2019 at 02:38.

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    Thanks for that Col. It occurred to me during the night that perhaps he could have been elsewhere before 186 Sqn.

    The 90 sqn ORB F.541 records 12 Ops for Smith in September, and the F.540 records that he was posted there on August 25th 1944 from No. 31 Base. Same crew make up as his 186 Sqn Ops, apart from the navigator is Sgt. D. L. Lewis, rather than Hartford.

    90 Sqn crew make-up:

    F/O Smith S. - Pilot
    Sgt. Lewis D. L. - Nav
    Sgt. Hernon G. P. - A/B
    F/S Woolhead E. G. A.42722 R.A.A.F. - WO/Air
    Sgt. McMinn E. - Mid Gunner [his initial is also recorded in the 90 Sqn ORB as A. and R. but the 186 Sqn ORB always records him as E.]
    Sgt. McLaren A. R. - Rear Gunner
    Sgt. Thom R. F. - F/Engr.
    plus:
    Sgt. Everett P. C. - Front Gunner (just a single Op with an extra gunner)

    Regards

    Simon
    Last edited by wwrsimon; 1st December 2019 at 12:51. Reason: Added 90 sqn info

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    Default Re: 177442 Sidney SMITH - D.F.C. citation?

    Simon,

    I decided to join Royal Airforce Commands (many thanks to those who allowed it to happen) after discovering this thread, whilst doing my own research into my fatherís wartime experiences.
    He was Flt.Lt. Sidney Smith DFC 177442, so I can perhaps shed some light on your own research.

    He was indeed a Lancaster pilot with 90 Squadron, his first opp. was 5th September 1944 to Le Havre.
    He completed 11 opps with them, the last being to Calais on 27th September 1944
    After that he transferred to 186 Squadron and flew his first opp with them to Walcheren on 3rd October 1944, completing his 30th opp to Osterfeld on 11th December 1944. All based at Tuddenham.
    His crew stayed the same throughout, apart from, as mentioned, a change of Navigator when they transferred to 186 Squadron.
    I have quite a collection of items from that period, including his logbook which not only contains details of his training and operations but even details of bomb loads and the fate of each of the Lancasterís he flew. There are also many photographs, including one taken of the entire crew standing in front of NG140 at Tuddenham 6th November 1944. I even have two of his uniforms.
    I would dearly love to find out more information about my Dadís exploits, in particular, like you, if there was a connection between the DFC awarded to John Frederick (Slim) Hartford and that of my Dad.

    Let me know if I can help any further.

    Graham Sidney Smith

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    Default Re: 177442 Sidney SMITH - D.F.C. citation?

    Hello Graham

    Welcome to the Forum, and many thanks indeed for posting the information.

    I came across your dad's name in the Newcastle Evening Chronicle from May 7th 1945:

    The D.F.C. has been awarded to Flt.-Lt. Sidney Smith (26), husband of Mrs. L. Smith, who is in the A.T.S., and eldest son of Mrs. and the late Mr. W. J. Smith, 23, Burnopfield Gardens, Newcastle “for gallantry while on operations over Germany.”

    Not much to go on from that, but as you can see the good folks on here have filled in many gaps.

    I'm sure I'll have some questions, if that's okay.

    Regards

    Simon
    Last edited by wwrsimon; 21st May 2020 at 13:02.
    Researching R.A.F. personnel from the North East of England

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    Default Re: 177442 Sidney SMITH - D.F.C. citation?

    Hi Simon,

    Already that is a great help and far more than I could find.

    I would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have, just let me know.

    Many thanks.

    Regards

    Graham

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    Default Re: 177442 Sidney SMITH - D.F.C. citation?

    Hello again

    Still working on my questions Graham!

    The 186 Sqn ORB of October 1944 recrods that Hartford was also posted in from 90 Squadron in October 1944. I see he's in the 90 Sqn ORB in August 1944 in the crew of F/S N. R. Modeland, who is Noel Russell Modeland, D.F.M.

    His citation reads:

    Can/R.162554 Flight Sergeant Norman Russell MODELAND, R.C.A.F. 90 Sqn. R.A.F.V.R. In July, 1944, this airman was captain and pilot of an aircraft detailed to attack a target near Caen. It was his first operational mission. Whilst over the target area the aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire and sustained damage. The elevator trimmer controls were severed, causing the aircraft to go into a steep dive. With great difficulty, Flight Sergeant Modeland regained a measure of control and went on to bomb the target. On the return flight the strain of keeping the aircraft in level flight became so great that two members of the crew had to assist by pulling Lawrence the ends of a rope which had been lashed to the control column. Base was finally reached and spite of difficulties and safe landing was effected. Flight Sergeant Modeland set an excellent example of skill, determination and devotion to duty in most difficult circumstances.

    See: http://www.rafcommands.com/database/...MODELAND&qt=OR

    The D.F.M. citation on Fold3.com gives the date as July 18th 1944 and the 90 Sqn ORB has Lancaster LM169 'R' as the aircraft involved.

    Regards

    Simon
    Researching R.A.F. personnel from the North East of England

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    Default Re: 177442 Sidney SMITH - D.F.C. citation?

    Hello,

    In Post #5, Graham Smith asserts that his father flew his first op to Walcheren on 3 October, 1944, with 186 Sqn. Afraid not, No 186 flew its first op, to Bonn, on 18 October, 1944. In fact, F/O Sidney Smith was still on 90 Sqn when he flew to Walcheren on 3 October, 1944:

    No.90 Sqn - Lancaster III LM618 'U', F/O S. Smith; Up: 12.19 Down: 14.32 (2.13). Attacked Westkapelle (3rd Wave), at 13.33 hours from 5,000 feet. Identified on reds and visually. Bombed between red markers. Result: very concentrated raid. Photo result: 200 yards.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 23rd May 2020 at 14:22.

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    Default Re: 177442 Sidney SMITH - D.F.C. citation?

    He was one of a large number of 90 Sqn personnel transferred to 186 Squadron in October 1944 - the 186 Sqn ORB Form 540 has him joining on August 9th.

    Modeland's entry on the RCAF Association mentions Hartford:

    RCAF Press Release No.28 dated 8 September 1944, transcribed by Huguette Mondor Oates, reads:
    WITH CANADIANS IN THE RAF: The rare distinction of winning the DFM on his first operational flight has come to Flight Sergeant Norman Russell Modeland of Vancouver, RCAF pilot of a Lancaster bomber.
    Thanks to a piece of rope and quick thinking, the Canadian not only saved his aircraft from destruction, but the lives of his crew, consisting of five Canadians, an Englishman and a Welshman, all on their first operation.
    Modeland, aged 21, son of Mr. and Mrs. S. Modeland, 3339 Twenty-seventh Avenue West, Vancouver, B.C., was approaching a target near Caen when his “Lanc” was hit by flak which cut the elevator trimmer controls and sent the aircraft into a steep dive. With an almost superhuman effort the Canadian regained control and, by using great force on the control column, held the aircraft level until the bombs were away. But the strain was too great for Modeland to keep all by himself. In fact, he would have been justified in giving the “bail out” order. The crew, however, were determined to make their first operational mission a success.
    Then came Modeland’s great idea. Securing a piece of rope, he lashed it around the control column and told the navigator Flight Sergeant J.F. Hartford, of Port McNicholl, Ontario, and bomb-aimer F/O Ronald G. McKenzie, of Saint John’s, N.B. to hold the rope ends and take the strain. This improvised control permitted Modeland to keep level flight until base was reached. There, as he glided in, he maintained an encouraging and confident commentary, and supervised the pull on the rope so ably that the Lancaster landed perfectly.


    See: https://www.rcafassociation.ca/herit...d_all&type=all

    Regards

    Simon
    Last edited by wwrsimon; 23rd May 2020 at 14:39. Reason: typo
    Researching R.A.F. personnel from the North East of England

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