Language selection


The Deathly Silence I’d Heard About

Heroes Remember

The Deathly Silence I’d Heard About

But the buzz bombs were coming over England, buzz bombs we called them, they called them doodlebugs then and then they got the name doodlebugs and buzz bombs. They were the V-1's. And when I got to my hotel, I was at the Park Lannigan (sp) and I asked for a room and ya they gave me one on the top floor. I didn’t realize the significance of that but it was a hot summer evening and I heard, I could hear them in the distance, coming every few minutes and hear an explosion or so on, and then I then I heard one that sounded a little deeper and what it was, I was in line, pretty close to the line of it and it came along. I remember it got loud, starts like a motorcycle and louder and louder and finally the ground shakes almost and it went along and then a deathly silence that I had heard about and it felt as if a giant had kicked the whole hotel with his boot. I don’t know how far away we were, but it certainly shook that hotel. By the way, the plaster, you could see cracks in the plaster. A few minutes later another one came but I could see a flaming light because with my window with curtains drawn aside and everything, I could see the light, a thing in the distance. I could see the reflection from light, it was the engine, of course, and it came along thunderous force and then blackness, deathly silence again and then another just like a giant, you know, same shock to the whole hotel. And then they didn’t, none were close after that so I got some sleep.

Mr. Smith describes the explosion of two buzz bombs near the hotel where he was spending his leave in London.

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: