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The Airmen's Stories - S/Ldr. A T Smith

 

Andrew Thomas Smith was born on 21st September 1906 in Frodsham, Cheshire. His father (also Andrew Thomas Smith) was a director of Brunner, Mond and Company and manager of a Castner Kellner works, a patented form of chemical production through electrolysis.

The family lived at 4 Croxteth Drive, Fulwood Park, Liverpool. AT Smith Jnr was at Oundle School from 1921 to 1924 (being a member of New House and gaining colours for rowing), leaving to go to St. Catharines College, Cambridge.

He worked as a manager for W and O Wilson, flour millers, of Liverpool and became a director in 1939. He was also appointed a director of the Grain Elevating and Automatic Weighing Company.

He was awarded Aero certificate 9344 at Liverpool Aero Club on 7th August 1930.

In April 1936 Smith joined 610 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force and was commissioned. He was called to full-time service on 24th August 1939. He was then a Flight Commander, as an Acting Flight Lieutenant.

 

 

 

Over Dunkirk on 27th May 1940 Smith destroyed a Me110 and probably another. When the CO, S/Ldr. AL Franks AFC, was killed on 29th May Smith took command of 610 Squadron as an Acting Squadron Leader.

On 10th July Smith crashed on landing at Hawkinge after his aircraft was damaged in combat over Dover.

He was killed on 25th July when he stalled attempting to land a damaged aircraft at Hawkinge after an action with Me109s over the Channel. His Spitfire, R6693, crashed and burned out in a disused engine-testing shed. The MO considered that Smith had been killed instantly.

Smith is buried in St Peter’s churchyard, Delamere, Cheshire. The coffin, covered in the Union flag, had lain in the church overnight before the funeral, at which there was an RAF guard of honour. The bearer party consisted of RAF personnel and employees of Smith's former company. Those present included W/Cdr. IR Parker and F/O PG Lamb.

An anonymous tribute to Smith appeared in The Times, concluding, 'Our only consolation is that but for him and those like him the enemy might even now be within our gates.'

 

 

 

 

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