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Army Co-op and Spitfires

Heroes Remember

Army Co-op and Spitfires

They had things in London called RAF Information Centres or in the cities in England, I don’t know what they were but we went in to one and I said, “What is, we’re posted up to 58 OTU Grangemouth. Can you tell us what kind of OTU that is, what kind of air planes they have?” And the sergeant he looked, he got our new identity cards and he went back in and came out with the flight sergeant. And the flight sergeant said, “Oh, it’s army co-op!” Oh, the worse thing you could have was army co-op, you know. The army wasn’t even fighting or at least… so we were devastated. Anyway, we got the train up to Scotland and it went all night and we went by through a raid on the train in the dark, we’d hear the ack- ack and search lights and so on but we arrived the next morning at an aerodrome, at a railway station, oh quite early, about 7:30, near Grangemouth and a bus came up to gather us all so we asked the driver, “What kind of airplanes are at 58 OTU?” And he said, “Spitfires, dozens of them!” So I had got a clean sweep, you know, wings, overseas, commissioned, fighter OTU and I hadn’t been in the air force nine months.

Mr. Smith describes disappointment of being assigned to army co-op duty at Grangemouth, Scotland but later perks up learning that it was a Spitfire base.

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

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