Stuart Jack Smith
Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, 180 Squadron
Service number 183693
Died 21 Mar 1945
Buried Reichswald Forest Cemetery, Germany
‘IN EVER UNFADING MEMORY OF OUR DARLING BELOVED STUART. FOR EVER IN OUR HEARTS’
Stuart (Jacob) was born in Hammersmith, London in October 1925 to David Algernon Smith and Rebecca nee Fisher and he had two older sisters Esther and Blanche. David was a travelling salesman and Rebecca was the director of a hotel in Margate.
Stuart enlisted in 1943 and trained as a wireless operator and air gunner. On 21 March 1945 aircraft Mitchell FW236 departed from B58 Melsbroek airfield in Belgium on a daylight operation to attack the marshalling yards at Bocholt in Germany. Stuart was acting as the cameraman on this operation. The squadron record book states: Twelve of our aircraft took off to attack this target with the object of destroying rolling stock and disrupting communications. They reached the target at 10.35/41 hrs. Some bombs were seen to burst on the target and some over and undershot. Intense very heavy accurate flak was experienced in target area and one aircraft was seen to receive a direct hit whilst releasing its bombs. An explosion followed. Another aircraft was seen with its port engine in flames and a large hole in its fuselage – believed as a result of this explosion. A pilot in another aircraft was seriously injured – believed as a result of this explosion and a WG/Air in another was dangerously injured. An air gunner was wounded by flak. Two aircraft were reported missing.
All five crew were killed.
Pilot, Oliver Jack Clipsham, 128937
Nav, Austen Whyte Shearer, DFC, 132197
W/Op, Edwin Richard Philpott Adams, 995788
A/G, Thomas James Hedley, 149480