Flight Sergeant Allan James SMITH

Service No: 422656
Born: Newtown NSW, 25 June 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 23 May 1942
Unit: No. 467 Squadron, RAF Station Waddington, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 467 Squadron Lancaster aircraft DV171), France, 25 September 1944, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of James Matthew and Arm Smith, of Newtown, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Newtown NSW
Remembered: Panel 261, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 111, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Between 20th and 28th September Bomber Command made six attacks against enemy-held defences in and around Calais during which 8,000 tons of bombs were used. The series began well with a heavy raid by 646 aircraft (27 of No. 460) but on 24th September No. 5 Group were faced by a combination of bad weather and strong anti-aircraft fire. Attacks on two of the five aiming points were abandoned and one-third of the force returned to base without bombing. Attacks on the remaining positions were made at very low level from below the overcast but were relatively expensive, among the eight Lancasters failing to return being two piloted by Flying Officer Geoffrey Albert Brown (408452) and Flying Officer Richard Allan Jones (419511) of No. 467. Many other aircraft were damaged by flak. Squadron Leader Smith (1) of No. 635, one of the master bombers, was forced to withdraw temporarily when his aircraft was badly damaged, but he regained control and directed the attack on one aiming point until all had bombed. Flying Officer Roberts (2) of No. 35, although his own aircraft was badly holed, took over control at another aiming point when the master bomber was forced to return to base, but despite such examples of fortitude and determination the raid was only moderately successful.

(1) Squadron Leader French Smith DSO DFC (412037) Discharged from the RAAF: 11 April 1946
(2) Wing Commander Roy Patrick Roberts DFC (12439) (O237) Discharged from the RAAF: 21 December 1962

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 266-7

Lancaster DV171 took off from RAF Waddington at 1731 hours on 24 September 1944 to bomb enemy strong points at Calais. The bomb load was 5 x 1000 lb (pound) (450 kg) and 2 x 500 lb (225 kg) bombs. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Eight aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and two of these including DV171 failed to return. The aircraft took off in shocking weather and the cloud base 200 feet. Before most of the aircraft reached the target a recall to base was issued. A number of aircraft failed to receive the message and they went in and bombed from 2000 feet. Flak was accurate and this evidently accounted for the losses

The crew members of DV171 were

Flight Sergeant Sydney George Burns (429919) (Bomb Aimer) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 12 June 1945
Pilot Officer I B Fletcher (188994) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) PoW
Sergeant James Johnston (1565817) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Flying Officer Richard Allan Jones (419511) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Douglas Michelmore (423809) (Navigator) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 16 July 1945
Flight Sergeant Allan James Smith (422656) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant Cyril Franklin Whitefield (1425903) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)

In a later report Flight Sergeant Fletcher said “The aircraft was hit by light flak several times. Port
inner caught fire. Pilot ordered prepare to bale out. I baled out no 2 and landed in flooded part of Calais at 1930 hours. Hid chute, mae west and came across an empty house where I spent the night. Next morning headed south east walked 200 yards and arrested by Germans. Taken to three different places and then local jail where I met Burns and Michelmore who were captured on 24/9. Then taken to two different places but were bombed and shelled out of them. Food bad. French woman slipped in some food to us. Liberated on 30 September by the Canadian infantry which we had contacted.”

Flight Sergeant Burns reported “Aircraft crashed south of Calais. I baled out first then Nav and Flt
Engineer when a/c at approx 1000 feet. Plane too low for Jones and Smith to get out.”


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/38/706

Book Now Book Now