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A Marvellous Thing Aerodynamically

Heroes Remember

A Marvellous Thing Aerodynamically

We were up over, on a patrol over Nijmegen, up high, they told us to go 13,000 feet. Our controller was in the area, and then we were just going around in lazy circles and then he said, “There’s an aircraft coming in from the northeast at about 13,000 feet.” It was our height, so I headed northeast and I got up about 500 feet or so and low and behold here was this airplane ahead of us. We were 12 of us and it was going, ready to come in very fast and I reported it. I realized it was a ME-262, but we were in the sun. It was late afternoon and he was coming southwest and, of course, we were heading northeast and he didn’t see us. We were in the sun to him until he got right among us. When I saw him coming, I swung out to the right, I reported him and then I swung out to the right to try and get in behind him as he went by because it was only going to take him seconds to get out at his speed. So then everybody went down and oh one of the guys, the number two of this other fellow, he got him and he hit him. He hit him in the port engine, it was a strange kind of, you see stripes, it was like cannon shells. It didn’t catch fire but a strange smoke, looked like whitish smoke but it would disappear a little distance behind the ME-262, so I think it was probably kerosene. They used kerosene, that was coming out and it evaporated. It hit somewhere but jeez right up close to the engine too, you’d think it would have gone up and then it went down, the fellow made a mistake, instead of just putting it out on, just going straight on, he barrelled down like this. Oh, it was tremendous, people went down, they were firing, out of range and everything, from the squadron, five of us fired at him, well, five I was told and it went way down, almost on the ground. Low and behold this 262 came with ease, shooting way up past us but losing speed all the time. So I was the closest, so I got in behind him. He was going up, very close to the vertical and I went up close to the vertical and I fired. And I mean I fired before I started the vertical but anyway he went up there, and we, really in effect, did two stall turns. I know when he was at the top like this, I got the most beautiful look, a short distance away, a marvellous looking thing, aerodynamically and I saw this beautiful rear vision hood on it but there was no head in it, it was closed but I couldn’t see the pilot’s head. And anyway, I had to fall off and so did he and he sort of crossed behind me and I thought, jeez I couldn’t see him. He was right dead behind me. I said, “Gosh, I hope he doesn’t shoot me now,” cause I’m right in front of him and then he went down like this and he went down in a plume of flames. I thought both were, I got mixed up I thought both engines were but only one was and he plunged into the ground just southeast of Nijmegen. There was a picture of the hole in the Illustrated London News, God it was huge. It was 25 feet across or something and this squadron leader form MI-9 told me that one of the engines was in very good shape. It was 30 feet down in the muck.

Mr. Smith describes his Squadron’s encounter with a new ME-262 jet fighter, and how it was shot down.

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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