SMYTH Douglas James 406118

LEST WE FORGET

Sergeant Douglas James SMYTH

Service No: 406118
Born: Malvern VIC, 1December 1920
Enlisted in the RAAF: 15 August 1940 (at Perth WA)
Unit: No. 45 Squadron (RAF), Magwe, Burma (Myanmar)
Died: Air Operations (No. 45 Squadron Blenheim aircraft 9799), Pegu District, Myanmar, 11 March 1942, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Taukkyan War Cemetery, Myanmar
CWGC Additional Information: Son of James and Beatrice Smyth, of Cottesloe, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Cottesloe WA
Remembered: Panel 130, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA

Another Blenheim, with an all-Australian crew, was making a low-level reconnaissance flight on 11th March when the pilot, Sergeant Smyth, was mortally wounded by small-arms fire from the ground. When he collapsed, the navigator, Sergeant Golder, seized the controls while calling to the gunner, Sergeant Alt, to lift the pilot from his seat. Between them Golder and Alt—neither of whom had had more than a few hours of initial training as a pilot—brought the Blenheim back over the base at Magwe. They dropped a message stating that Smyth had been wounded, fatally they believed, but that they proposed to attempt a landing. If this was approved they would expect a green light, if not a red one. The message drifted away from the base and when the Blenheim made its approach a red Very light was fired, the controller, unaware of the crew’s plight, intending that the landing should be delayed. Golder and Alt then decided to bale out, but first, because they thought there might be a remote chance that the pilot might yet live, they released his body with a parachute attached. When the body was recovered on the ground it was found that Smyth had been killed by the initial enemy ground fire. Alt parachuted safely and landed not far from where the
Blenheim crashed, but Golder, apparently having struck his head as he baled out, was unconscious when he landed. He recovered, was found next day and brought in from a near-by village.

Extract from Gillison, D.N. (Douglas Napier) (254475) Royal Australian Air Force 1939-1942, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1962 – Page 414-5

The crew members of Blenheim 9799 were:

Sergeant Jeffrey John Alt (402195) (Gunner) Uninjured, Discharged from the RAAF: 4 September 1945
Sergeant Denys Arthur Golder (400531) (Navigator) Uninjured, Discharged from the RAAF: 9 September 1946
Sergeant Douglas James Smyth (406118) (Pilot) Died of Wounds

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Records A705, 163/162/314