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Hand in your Flying Gear!

Heroes Remember

Hand in your Flying Gear!

If you had to hand in your flying kit, it meant you were going overseas. And there were a few cheerful and some gloomy guys standing around there and I’d gone through the other sections and up to the steward and I went in and there was a flight sergeant there and I said, “Am I on that list?” There were 11 going overseas out of 44. I said, “Am I on that list?” And I said, “Smith RIA is the way you get, Smith RIA,” my initials RIA and he said, “No!” But you get used to reading your name upside down when you’re in the ranks in the service and things like that and I looked and I said, “Isn’t that it?” And he said, “Oh yes! Hand in your flying gear!” Boy, was I, oh that was the biggest prize to go overseas because you see they’d take the other 33 and they had to go and be instructors and be staff pilots in bombing and gunnery schools and they wouldn’t get overseas for two and a half years if they got over at all. So here… that was the prize.

Mr. Smith describes the exhilaration or disappointment of being selected or not for Overseas pilot duty.

Roderick Smith

Roderick Smith was born in Regina, Saskatchewan in March, 1922. He was the second of four children. His father, who had served in the First World War, was a land surveyor. Mr. Smith had been fascinated by propaganda leading up to the Second World War, so he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1940 following the completion of his Senior Matriculation. After pilot training in Canada, he was selected for overseas flying duty. His first tour of duty was on Malta and Mr. Smith’s impressive list of enemy aircraft destroyed began here. He was also shot down himself while on this tour. After returning to England, he joined 401 Squadron piloting new generation Spitfire 9's. Mr. Smith was in action on D-Day, and later did strafing runs in German held France. Later at Nijmegen, he destroyed several more enemy aircraft, including the shared kill of a prototypical ME-262 jet fighter. Mr. Smith retired with the rank of Flight-Lieutenant, DFC and Bar, with thirteen destroys, 1 shared and ½ possible to his credit.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Roderick Smith
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
401 Squadron
Flight Lieutenant

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

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