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Posted to Malta

Heroes Remember

We got on this carrier and it seemed like a short, well we had about an 8 knot breeze and the carrier could do 22 knots and so with 30 knots we could get airborne just before we got to the end. As soon as we got airborne, we just climbed up a little and we could see the Atlas Mountains to the south of Africa. That’s all we could see and we headed towards getting closer to the African Coast and we crossed, I think it was Bizerte or some place and passed right over the town of Tunis. We were up about 20,000 feet or something, right over Tunis Town, all white and then we turned a little bit left pointing for Malta and a beautiful day as I say and we carried right on and then finally we arrived over Malta. And I sort of envisioned a little Mediterranean Island with palm trees or something, you know, and shepherds and goats around or something or other. Hell, here it was a city with a quarter of a million people on it and it was 17 miles long and 9 miles wide. And, of course, I knew Valletta was the big harbor there and so on. But the countryside, you know, there was lots of little towns over it and three aerodromes on it and it was pockmarked with bombs just like craters on the moon, a bomb hole, you know, bomb craters everywhere, particularly around the aerodromes.

Mr. Smith describes taking off from an aircraft carrier and flying over North Africa on his way to the airfields in Malta.

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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