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Thread: USSR Medal for Valour to Australian Pilot 1944

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    Default USSR Medal for Valour to Australian Pilot 1944

    Dear all

    I'm a little confused about the award of the USSR Medal for Valour being awarded to 407256 Flt. Lt. Donald H. Smith RAAF on 11 April 1944. The award is listed in the LG, but there is no citation.

    Smith served with 452 Squadron in the UK for a month or so from April 1942 as his first operational unit, and was then sent to Malta, where he served from June 1942 with 126 Squadron. He scored 3.3-1-0 in July in the space of eight days, but was WIA on 14 July 1942 and medivac'd to the UK in early August, and spent the next several months in various hospitals. He was finally discharged in April 1943, did a refresher course at 53 OTU, and was then posted to 41 Squadron in the UK, where he remained until 2 May 1944.

    It was during his time with 41 Squadron (where he recorded another 1-0-1 vics) that the award was gazetted, but I see no logical reason for it, as he had no service - at least as far as his official record is concerned - in or near Russia, or in liaison with the Russian military.

    Is there any way of finding out why Smith was awarded a Russian galantry medal? I guess there are recommendations for awards, etc., in the NA, but a fat help that is to me now that I'm back on the opposite side of the world again! (Um, anyone going to the NA soon with their digital camera...?)


    Thansk
    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    Hi Steve,

    I remember recently coming across a picture of an WW2 Australian infantryman who had been awarded a Soviet award for his service in the Syrian campaign of 1941. I presumed the award was due to Allied co-operation during the invasion of Iran and the war against the fascists !

    Mark

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    We are both indebted to Tom Thorne who copied for me the appropriate material from Air 2/4798. The recommendation for Donald Hamilton Elliott (RAAF Aus 407256) read as follows:

    "This officer is a daring and skilful fighter who has served both in this country [e.g. United Kingdom] and in Malta. He has destrpyed four enemy aircraft including two bombers. On one occasion, when flying alone over Malta, he attacked and shot down a bomber which was escorted by four fighters. In the combat his own aircraft was extensively damaged. In operations whilst serving in England he has continued to display great courage and fine fighting qualities."

    So why a RUSSIAN award ? Because the Russians had offered the British a block of Soviet honours, to be distibuted as the British pleased. The majority had been allocated (no surprise here) to Royal Navy personnel, but a portion to RAF personnel if a Russian connection could be established - which in this case seemed to be "personnel escorting Russian-bound convoys." The Soviets had probably never heard of Elliott, but Air Ministry said, "Here is a chance to give a gong to deserving soul" and put his name forward.

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    Default DH Smith

    Hi Hugh

    Time to give up the home brew! I assume you mean SMITH not ELLIOTT!

    Thanks for the Rayment citation.

    Cheers
    Brian

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    Another brain fart. Delete "Elliott" and substitute "Smith".

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    Hi Hugh - thanks so much; I didn't know your recommendations extended to Russian awards, so this is a pleasant surprise. Thanks to Tom for doing the leg-work. Amazing what your network of 'spies' ("Spies like us?!") has generated, and I'm glad to have been a part of generating the amazing database you have created.

    Hi Brian - good pun, and I thought I'd heard everything that rhymes, or has any connection, with my surname!

    Hugh - love the expression. Don't hear it often, but it makes me laugh every time I do!

    Thanks for a quick and full answer to my question, which is most apreciated

    Kind regards
    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

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    Default Steve/Hugh

    Hi Steve/Hugh

    It wasn't intended as a pun!

    I can just about visualise Hugh in his log cabin brewing a mixture of pine cones/racoon testicles/moose droppings etc (I'm sure I had something like that when I was in Canada!), although it wouldn't surprise me if Hugh lives in a palatial house and is TT! Apologies in advance, Hugh, should you be offended!

    Which reminds me - I have some home brew bubbling away in the spare room - can't remember what I put in that, either!!

    Cheers
    Brian
    Last edited by brian; 24th April 2010 at 10:53.

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    Speaking of log cabins and strange stuff, see http://www.canavbooks.com/Authors/HughHalliday/

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    And don't touch "Moose's Milk" with a barge-pole!! Done it - and then had to go on a 24-hr working shift the next morning. Not good idea!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Default Hugh/Peter

    Hi Hugh

    Now thank me for the opportunity to plug your books! All highly recommended.

    Hi Peter

    May I enquire as to what 'Moose's Milk' is? A cover name for some deadly potion?

    When I was in Canada with the late Gordie Dunn (ex Hurricane pilot) we jointly consumed a bottle of something illicit that came out of the woods - we had a most enjoyable 'old buddy' act of stumbling back to his house in the dark (he lived in the sticks, no lighting). I believe it took something like an hour to cover the mile! Great times.

    Cheers
    Brian

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