LEST WE FORGET

Flying Officer Rodney Wyben SMITH

Service No: 402409
Born: Sydney NSW, 22 February 1918
Enlisted in the RAAF: 19 August 1940
Unit: No. 201 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Lough Erne
Died: Air Operations: (No. 201 Squadron Sunderland aircraft W3977), Atlantic Ocean, 6 February 1942, Aged 23 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Vivian Wyben Smith and Meta Victoria Smith, of Binnaway, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Sydney NSW
Remembered: Panel 111, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 130, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

At 1543 hours on the 5 February 1942 Sunderland W3977 took off from Lough Erne on a ‘Strike’ sortie. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take-off and it did not return to base. Following post war enquiries and investigations, it was recorded in 1950 that the missing crew members had no known graves.

The crew members of W3977 were:

Pilot Officer John Percival Bartlett (64304) (RAFVR)
Flight Sergeant Norman Clare (644121) (RAF)
Aircraftman Class I Eric Hopkinson (1120533) (RAFVR)
Sergeant Gordon Walter Eric Jacobson (552466) (RAF)
Flight Sergeant Hugh Jones (517519) (RAF)
Flying Officer Henry Kitchin (60778) (RAFVR)
Warrant Officer Harold Stanislaus Mason (580829) (RAF)
Sergeant Kenneth Charles Nutt (553975) (RAF)
Sergeant Arnold Alfred Rolfe (1255057) (RAFVR)
Flying Officer Rodney Wyben Smith (402409) (Second Pilot)
Flight Lieutenant Francis Wilfred Smith (41214) (RAF) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant John Frederick Charles Smith (526315) (RAF)

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 A705, 163/57/167