LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant Charles Hilton Alfonso SMITH

Service No: 411627
Born: Crookwell NSW, 24 August 1912
Enlisted in the RAAF: 24 May 1941
Unit: No. 455 Squadron, RAF Station Sumburg Detachment
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 455 Squadron Hampden aircraft AN148), off the Scottish Coast, 16 May 1943, Aged 31 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Charles and Susannah Smith, of Goulburn, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Goulburn NSW
Remembered: Panel 193, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 106 Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Goulburn-Mulwaree Honour Roll 1939-1972, Goulburn NSW

On 16th May 1943 the Squadron crews detached at RAF Sumburg (an advanced RAF base) carried out an Air Launch Torpedo exercise with units of the Fleet together with Beaufighters of No. 235 Squadron RAF. Shortly after the ‘attack’ Hampden AN148 experienced a starboard engine failure and spun into the sea. Hampden ‘S’ circled the scene of the crash but all that was seen was a rubber tyre and petrol tank. All the crew members were missing.

The crew members of Hampden AN148 were:

Flight Sergeant Geoffrey Vincent Courtney (411290) (Pilot)
Flying Officer Alfred Charles Smith (125634) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant John Alexander King (1193308) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Charles Hilton Alfonso Smith (411627) (Air Gunner)

References:

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 Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A9301, 411627
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

Bibliography:

Gordon, I. (Ian) Strike and Strike Again: 455 Squadron 1944-5, Banner Books Belconnen ACT 2616, 1995
Lawson, John Horwood Wightman (251634) The Story of No. 455 Squadron (RAAF), Wilke and Company, Melbourne VIC, 1951