Language selection


First D-Day Operation

Heroes Remember - D-Day

First D-Day Operation

So we got up, of course, early the next morning and we went down, it was dark. I remember we took off in the dark. And headed south and got, as we came towards, got about three quarters of the way across the channel, we could see, we could see, oh ships, merchant ships and battleships, you never saw a battleship, you know, well, that close to the shore. It was just unbelievable to see them. And they were firing at the shore. Just a mass, mass of ships. So we went up and down the beach, along it, just under the clouds, it was cloudy the whole damn channel was cloudy. But there was enough ceiling that we could operate two thousand feet above the reef or something. And we, it was a, we thought there would be hundreds of German aircraft and there weren’t any and then suddenly four of them appeared from over Normandy heading towards the beach from south, it would be over France, towards the beach four 190’s and we turned and ran after them and they immediately, before they even got to, just about as they reached the water’s edge, they turned back and we chased them back into Normandy for several miles and then they pulled up into the cloud and that was it. And we didn’t know it but that was about almost the only time anybody saw any fighters on the Normandy Beach. They were virtually absent.

Mr. Smith describes seeing the Allied naval barrage at Normandy and chasing four ME-109's away from the combat zone.

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

Related Videos

Date modified: