LEST WE FORGET

Sergeant Reginald Allan SMITHERS

Service No: 411656
Born: Waratah NSW, 26 February 1917
Enlisted in the RAAF: 24 May 1941
Unit: No. 455 Squadron, RAF Station Leuchars
Died: Injuries from Air Operations (loss of No. 455 Squadron Hampden aircraft AD792 on 11 January 1943: Crisis in the Atlantic), Scotland, 18 January 1943, Aged 25 Years
Buried: Leuchars Cemetery, Fifeshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William and Caroline Smithers, of Wallsend, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Wallsend NSW
Remembered: Panel 106, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Hampden AD792 took off from Leuchars at 1556 hours on the night of 11 January 1943 to carry out a strike on enemy naval forces off the coast of Norway. The aircraft was one of 12 aircraft from the Squadron to take part in the strike and of these AD792 failed to return. At 2213 hours the aircraft was given a QDM (magnetic heading) of 218 degrees and at 2215 an unfinished radio message was received from the aircraft but after that nothing. The aircraft crashed, killing three crew members and injuring one crew members.

The crew members of AD792 were:

Flying Officer Philip James Hill MID (122499) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Flying Officer William John Rees (123457) (RAFVR) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant Reginald Allan Smithers (411665) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Sergeant Ronald Keith Spohn (412208) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner) Injured, Discharged from the RAAF: 26 November 1944

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, 166/38/22

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