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Canadian Virtual War Memorial

William Robert Smith

In memory of:

Flight Lieutenant William Robert Smith

February 26, 1944

Military Service


Service Number:

J/18361

Age:

22

Force:

Air Force

Unit:

Royal Canadian Air Force

Division:

408 Sqdn.

Honours and Awards:

Distinguished Flying Cross

Additional Information


Son of Gordon Lindsay Smith and Edith Rae Smith, of Toronto, Ontario.

Commemorated on Page 448 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance. Request a copy of this page. Download high resolution copy of this page.

Burial Information


Cemetery:
Grave Reference:

Coll. grave 4. E. 8-11.

Location:

Durnbach is a village 16 kilometres east of Bad Tolz, a town 48 kilometres south of Munich. Durnbach War Cemetery is 3 kilometres north of the village Gmund am Tegernsee. Using the A8 from Munich, turn off at the junction Holzkirchen, taking the 318 road in the direction of Gmund am Tegernsee. At the crossroads with the 472, turn left in the direction of Miesbach. The cemetery is situated approximately 500 metres on the left from the 318/472 crossroads.

Information courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Digital Collection

  • Grave marker– Submitted for the project, Operation Picture Me
  • Grave marker– Submitted for the project Operation Picture Me
  • Photo of WILLIAM ROBERT SMITH– Submitted for the project Operation Picture Me
  • Photo of WILLIAM ROBERT SMITH– Submitted for the project Operation Picture Me
  • Photo of WILLIAM ROBERT SMITH– Submitted for the project Operation Picture Me
  • Identification– Submitted for the project Operation Picture Me
  • Service Book– Submitted for the project Operation Picture Me
  • Document– Submitted for the project Operation Picture Me
  • Correspondence– Submitted for the project Operation Picture Me
  • Correspondence– Submitted for the project Operation Picture Me
  • Attestation paper– Submitted for the project Operation Picture Me
  • Attestation paper– Submitted for the project Operation Picture Me
  • Newspaper clipping– Submitted for the project Operation Picture Me
  • Newspaper clipping– Submitted for the project Operation Picture Me
  • Memorial Plaque– This outdoor plaque is located at the “Old Vic” building, part of Victoria University in the University of Toronto. The decorative motif at the top shows the Victoria University crest, with motto in Latin: “ABEUNT STUDIA IN MORES”. The plaque is inscribed: “THEY WERE VALIANT IN LIFE TRIUMPHANT IN DEATH. ERECTED TO THE MEMORY OF THE STUDENTS OF THIS COLLEGE WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE GREAT WAR 1939-1945. THIS TABLET WAS ERECTED BY THE BOARD OF REGENTS AND DEDICATED OCTOBER 13TH, 1953”. There are 79 names inscribed in bas relief.  Photo:  Cody Gagnon, courtesy of Alumni Relations, University of Toronto.
  • Photo of William Smith– From:  University of Toronto Memorial Book Second World War 1939-1945. 
The book was published by the Soldiers' Tower Committee, University of Toronto.  
Submitted with permission, by Operation Picture Me.
  • Newspaper Clipping– Memorialized on the pages of the Globe and Mail. Submitted for the project, Operation Picture Me
  • Newspaper clipping– The Toronto Star January 18, 1945, page 26
Crash details from //lostbombers.co.uk
F/Lt Smith was pilot of Lancaster DS 791 in 408 Sqn.  DS791 
took part in the following Key Operations:  Berlin 18/19 Nov. 43; Berlin 22/23 Nov. 43’ Berlin 23/24 Nov. 43; Berlin 26/27 Nov. 43; Berlin 2/3 Dec. 43; Berlin 29/30 Dec. 43; Berlin; 1 / 2Jan. 44; Berlin 2/3 Jan. 44; Brunswick 14/15 Jan. 44; Berlin 30/31 Jan. 44; Berlin 15/16 Feb. 44; Leipzig 19/20 Feb. 44; Schweinfurt 24/25 Feb. 44.  

The target on  25/26 Feb. 44 was Augsburg, 50 miles north-west of Munich.  The crew was airborne at 2111 on the 25th from their home base at Linton-on-Ouse.  

This was an experienced crew nearing the end of their operational tour.   One crew member, F/S D. G. Mullock, survived and was taken Prisoner of War.   Those who were killed are:

F/O (N) Cyril F. Ridgers, DFC, age 27, from Hamilton, Ont.
F/S (AB) Lloyd Stuart Beer
F/S (AG) Clarence O. Draper,MiD, age 28, of Elgin, Manitoba
F/S (WAG) Ronald E. Bowler, RAF, age 23, from Leicester, England
Sgt. (FE) Fred Crofts, RAF, age 21, from Angus, Scotland

DFC citation for F/Lt. Smith:
SMITH, F/L William Robert (J18361) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.408 Squadron (deceased) - Award effective 24 February 1944 as per London Gazette dated 21 December 1945 and AFRO 155/46 dated 15 February 1946.  Born 1921 in Toronto; home there; enlisted there 22 July 1941.  Trained at No.3 ITS (graduated 11 April 1942), No.14 EFTS (graduated 3 July 1942) and No.10 SFTS (graduated 6 November 1942.  Commissioned July 1943.  Killed in action 25 February 1944 (Lancaster DS791, No.408 Squadron); buried in Germany.  Award presented at Government House to next-of-kin, 7 November 1949.
 
This officer has completed as pilot and captain of aircraft many successful operations against the enemy in the course of which he has displayed high skill, fortitude and devotion to duty.
  • Newspaper Clipping– Memorialized on the pages of the Globe and Mail. Submitted for the project, Operation Picture Me
  • Memorial– Flight Lieutenant William Robert Smith is commemorated on the Bomber Command Memorial Wall in Nanton, AB … photo courtesy of Marg Liessens
  • Memorial– Father J P Lardie's comments as inscribed on the Bomber Command Memorial Wall in Nanton, AB … photo courtesy of Marg Liessens
  • Memorial– Flight Lieutenant William Robert Smith is commemorated on the Bomber Command Memorial Wall in Nanton, AB … photo courtesy of Marg Liessens

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