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Killing ME-109's at Nijmegen

Heroes Remember

Killing ME-109's at Nijmegen

The squadrons had to take turns, you see, patrolling over the bridge at Nijmegen, that was a key part because we had got that bridge but we hadn’t got the bridge over Arnhem, there was still fighting, actually we didn’t know it but it was really all over by this time. We thought it was still going on. Anyway, my squadron, I was leading, our CO was on leave in London and we got into 109's that were coming out of this bridge, I don’t know why. They didn’t seem to be bombing, I’ll never know why they were there, just hoards, must have been 40 of them, normally were (inaudible) and here they were, well you, first time I ever shot down two. It was just easy to go up behind them. They were hopeless, you know, they didn’t know what to do. Most of them, the odd one might but we were getting a couple and then the next day.. and our squadron was lucky because when we got our turn over the bridge, unlike Normandy, we seemed to run into them. And then we got another couple of the, they weren’t very spectacular because they were low down. You’d hit them and they would just go down a short distance and that was it. We had gone up to Nijmegen Bridge and we didn’t have any luck for a while and we sat there for about an hour or so and just as we were starting to go, I saw a bunch of dots going over towards the White Squall forest to the east, not far from Nijmegen and so I took the squadron over there, looked kind of odd, and sure enough there was some 109’s chasing some Typhoons. You see a Typhoon was a big heavy brute of a thing and the 109 was pretty much a threat even though it was not a threat to us. A Typhoon was not a marvellous dog fighter, to put it bluntly, and we got into these guys and I saw them going down, you know. We were not high, two or three thousand feet and they looked like the railing on a picket fence, we got nine of them. And you could just see them driving into the ground everywhere, just west of the forest.

Mr. Smith describes two air actions over Nijmegen where heavy losses were inflicted on German fighter patrols.

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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