Canadian Virtual War Memorial

Jerrold Alpine Smith

In memory of:

Pilot Officer Jerrold Alpine Smith

August 10, 1942

Military Service


Service Number:
J/6280
Age:

21

Force:

Air Force

Unit:

Royal Canadian Air Force

Division:

126 Sqdn.

Additional Information


Born:

March 26, 1921 Regina, Saskatchewan

Enlistment:

October 22, 1940 Regina, Saskatchewan

Son of Donald Alpine Smith and Blanche Smith, of Regina, Saskatchewan. Brother of Squadron Leader Rod Smith, DFC & Bar.

The province of Saskatchewan honoured Pilot Officer Smith by naming Jerrold Lake, located southwest of Cree Lake. Jerry is one of the 22 members of Regina's First Presbyterian congregation to be commemorated on a stained glass window in the church, and have their stories told in David G. Marshall, Stained Glass Name: A Dedication of Remembrance, published by the church in 2002.

Pilot Officer Smith is best remembered as the only pilot who ever landed a Spitfire on the deck of an aircraft carrier without the use of a restraining hook, a feat many believed impossible.

It happened in May of 1942 after Smith and other pilots had taken off from the deck of the U.S. Aircraft Carrier Wasp en route to Malta. They had been instructed to ditch their aircraft in the event of any malfunction and not to try to land back on the carrier. P/O Jerrold Alpine Smith, found after take-off that his long range fuel tank was u/s (failed to draw). Now incapable of reaching friendly territory, he jettisoned the tank and circled until the deck was clear before landing back on the WASP with full authorization of the ship’s Captain. He brought the Spitfire back down on the flight deck, rolling to a stop six feet short of the front apron. Had he gone off the bow of the ship it was certain death as the huge vessel moving at full speed would have rolled right over him. His landing was the first ever for a Spitfire and was called “A Feat Unparalled” by Sir Hugh Lloyd, former Air Commander-in-Chief at Malta. P/O Smith was unofficially awarded the American Navy Wings aboard the WASP. In the few short months he spent in Malta, he was credit with three aircraft shot down and two partials. From: Canadian Welcome Home Medals 1899 - 1945 George A. Brown

Commemorated on Page 115 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance. Request a copy of this page.

Burial Information


Cemetery:

MALTA MEMORIAL , Malta

Grave Reference:

Panel 4, Column 2.

Location:

The MALTA MEMORIAL is situated in the area of Floriana and is easily identified by the Golden Eagle which surmounts the column. It stands outside the King's Gate, the main entrance to Valletta. The Memorial takes the form of a column fifteen metres high of travertine marble from Tivoli in the Sabine Hills near Rome, incised with a a light reticulated pattern and surmounted by a gilded bronze eagle two metres high. The column stands on a circular base around which the names are commemorated on bronze panels. The MALTA MEMORIAL, built on a site generously provided by the Government of Malta, commemorates those who lost their lives whilst serving with the Commonwealth Air Forces flying from bases in Austria, Italy, Sicily, islands of the Adriatic and Mediterranean, Malta, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, West Africa, Yugoslavia and Gibraltar, and who have no known grave. The bravery of the people of the island of Malta between the years 1940 - 1942 was honoured with the unique award of the George Cross.

Information courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Digital Collection

Send us your images
  • Photo of Jerrold Alpine Smith – Submitted for the project, Operation: Picture Me
  • Jerry Smith landing on USS Wasp.
  • Photo of Jerrold Alpine Smith – After his landing on USS Wasp. He had full authorization from the ship's captain to land his plane.

This photo was shared by the family of Jerry Smith on October 17, 2016.
  • Memorial – First Presbyterian Church Regina freedom window

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