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Declared Operational

Heroes Remember

Declared Operational

We were working up, we worked through July and August and we’d do lots of formation flying and, you know, operation practices with 12, the squadron was12 Airborne, four three’s and then they changed to three four’s, it’s like the Germans, it was far better. And we started doing air fire on drogues and we do a lot of camera gun stuff too which was wonderful. I thought flying in drogue was ridiculous because they’d be towed by a slow air plane like a Lancaster, like the Lysander, and at about 110 mph or something ridiculous. And it’s a drogue, it has no wings, it’s a sleeve, tapered sleeve, a hole, you know, the air goes right through it. And they’d paint our bullets, the tips of the bullets so that a number of guys would fire at one drogue. It left a mark according to the paint so they could take the score by the number of holes in the drogue and what color they were. Anyway, we did a bit of that but it was very, you had to go out to the coast but, but we finally worked up and we finally declared operational.

Mr. Smith describes the process of ‘working up’, wherein the squadron practised formation flying and aerial target shooting. After this training they were declared battle ready.

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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