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The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. A Montagu-Smith


Arthur Montagu Smith was born on 17th July 1915 in Blackheath, London and could remember being outside during a raid by German airships. He grew up in Croydon and attended Whitgift School.

He joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his initial training in January 1935. He was posted to 5 FTS Sealand on 30th March and after completing his training joined 99 Squadron at Mildenhall on 29th February 1936.



The squadron was the first to receive Wellingtons and Smith flew on 99 Squadron's first sortie to the German coast in October 1939, in search of enemy naval units.

In November he was posted to the Special Duty Flight at the A&AEE Boscombe Down and sent on a short attachment to the French Air Force in Algeria. After a long lunch one day he was invited to take up a Spad 510 biplane, the spectators expecting him to be unable to handle it. He quickly assessed the controls, realised that the throttles were reversed and went on to give a flying display that lasted 50 minutes.

Smith then went to CGS Warmwell on 2nd April 1940 as a Flight Commander.

His brother, 2/Lt. AG Smith, was killed at Dunkirk on 2nd June 1940 serving with 139 Field Regiment RA, he lies in Dunkirk Town Cemetery.

Smith joined 264 Squadron at Kirton-in-Lindsey on 11th September 1940 as 'A' Flight Commander.

In December 1940 Smith was promoted to Squadron Leader and joined 221 Squadron at Birchham Newton, as a Flight Commander. He carried out the first Coastal Command Wellington attack on a German U-boat in the Atlantic in May 1941.

Smith went to a staff job at HQ 18 Group in October 1941. A year later he took command of 248 Squadron at Talbenny, operating Beaufighters on long-range fighter patrols between the UK and Gibraltar.


Above: he married in April 1942.


Before he was posted away in August 1943 to HQ 19 Group, 248 Squadron had destroyed twenty-five enemy aircraft.

In February 1944 Smith joined the RAF Delegation in Washington as Deputy Director RAF Operational Training USA.

He returned to the UK and in July 1945 he was made OC 104 Wing in France, equipped with Mosquitos.

Smith held a series of appointments at home and overseas in the post-war RAF, including at the British High Commission in Delhi, with the British Delegation to the United Nations in New York, during the Korean War and the embassy in Budapest. He was also Deputy OC at RAF Acklington.

He retired on 1st January 1961 as a Wing Commander, retaining the rank of Group Captain.

He then worked for the Scottish Office and was concerned with the development of rural businesses. He was a Deputy Lieutenant for Morayshire.

Smith, who died on 19th January 2014, changed his name to Montagu-Smith after the Second World War.



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