Medals from the Collection of David Lloyd
Date of Auction: 17th February 2021
Sold for £3,200
Estimate: £2,000 - £2,400
Distinguished Flying Cross, G.VI.R., the reverse officially dated ‘1943’; 1939-45 Star; Air Crew Europe Star, clasp, France and Germany; Defence and War Medals 1939-45; Air Efficiency Award, G.VI.R., 1st issue (Plt. Off. A. C. Smart. R.A.F.V.R.), mounted for display, generally extremely fine (6) £2,000-£2,400
FootnoteD.F.C. London Gazette 28 December 1943.
The original Recommendation states: ‘On the night of 3-4 December 1943, Pilot Officer A. C. Smart was captain of an aircraft detailed to attack Leipzig. While on the outward journey his aircraft was attacked by a Ju. 88 and the starboard engine rendered useless, while the starboard inner engine and ailerons and flaps were damaged. Nevertheless, Pilot Officer Smart continued to carry out correct combat manoeuvre. The Ju. 88 came in for a second time to attack and closed 200 yards, when it was hit by both gunners and exploded. The damage to Pilot Officer Smart’s aircraft was such that bombs had to be jettisoned and course set for base.
A second attack was experienced by the crippled aircraft within half an hour of the first. Although the aircraft had become difficult to handle, upon the Rear Gunner reporting a second Ju. 88 astern, the pilot again took the aircraft through correct combat manoeuvre and the enemy aircraft was hit, broke away and was seen to fall in flames. The damaged machine was then brought back to make a successful landing.
In addition, this officer has completed 16 sorties, during which his machine has been repeatedly attacked by enemy night fighters, the total score for the crew being six destroyed and several damaged.
Pilot Officer Smart’s outstanding skill, courage and determination have been an inspiring example to the remainder of the Squadron, and it is recommended that his exceptional record should be recognised by the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.’
Alan Cargill Smart was a pre-war member of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in Hull and qualified for his ‘Wings’ at Brough on the outbreak of hostilities in September 1939. Among his subsequent appointments was a lengthy stint at the Central Gunnery School, a posting that included close liaison work with fighter pilots such as “Sailor” Malan and one which Smart credited for his forthcoming success as a bomber pilot against night fighters - ‘we fought each other with camera guns and I learned my trade against the cream of Fighter Command.’
His remarkable operational career with No. 158 Squadron, a Halifax unit operating out of Lissett, commenced in August 1943, with his first sortie, against Berlin, on the 23rd. And as it transpired, Berlin and other heavily defended German targets, were very much on No. 158’s agenda in the period leading up to the recommendation for his immediate D.F.C. and, as cited above, his aircraft, Halifax NP-Y (Why Worry), frequently subjected to attacks by enemy night fighters - copied combat reports for nine such occasions are included and for the record are summarised herewith:
Night of 30-31 August 1943: Munchen-Gladbach: two separate attacks by Ju. 88s with inconclusive results.
Night of 30 August-1 September: Berlin: Me. 110 claimed as destroyed.
Night of 5-6 September: Mannheim: attack by a Ju. 88 with inconclusive results.
Night of 29-30 September: Hanover: numerous attacks. One Ju. 88 claimed as destroyed and three as damaged, together with one Fw. 190 damaged.
Night of 22-23 October: Kassel: attack by a Ju. 88 with inconclusive results.
Night of 3 November: Dusseldorf: two separate attacks by Ju. 88s. Both claimed as destroyed.
Night of 11-12 November: Cannes: Me. 109 claimed as damaged.
Night of 18 November: Mannheim: Ju. 88 claimed as damaged.
Night of 25-26 November: Frankfurt: Ju. 88 claimed as damaged.
Night of 3-4 December: Leipzig: two separate attacks by Ju. 88’s, as cited in the above recommendation. Both claimed as destroyed.
Smart later recalled that the multiple combats over Hanover in September 1943 were by far the most hair-raising:
‘I can remember vividly details of each operation we flew and in my opinion even the “double kills” over Dusseldorf and Leipzig were outstripped for sheer danger on the trip we did to Hanover. We arrived over the target and found parachute flares above us lighting up the scene to almost daylight intensity. We were sitting ducks, and when I opened the bomb doors and levelled out for the bombing run we were quickly attacked by a team of four fighters - Fw. 190s I believe. I had to use every trick I knew to escape them without a chance of dropping our bombs. We tried four times to achieve our task and received the same treatment from the fighters each time. I recall my “corkscrewing” of the Halifax was so extreme that the dials on my instrument panel became unscrambled (i.e. slipped their gyros).’
Following his recommendation for the D.F.C., Smart went on to complete one further sortie with No. 158 - against Magdeburg - prior to transferring to another Halifax unit, No. 640 Squadron, at the end of January 1944, and in which latter capacity he flew another 12 sorties, his targets once again including the “Big City”, in addition to Dusseldorf and Stuttgart (twice), and several French targets in support of the Normandy landings, with Maisy on D-Day itself.
The announcement of his Air Efficiency Award having appeared in Air Ministry Order N. 139 of 8 February 1945, he was released from the Service in the rank of Flight Lieutenant at the war’s end.
Sold with the recipient’s original R.A.F. Pilot’s Flying Log Book (Form 414), covering the period May 1941 to October 1944, together with a typescript of some of his wartime experiences, a quantity of copied research and photographs, the latter including his Halifax with Younger’s Tartan nose art, and The History of 158 Squadron by W. R. Chorley and R. N. Benwell, this containing several references to Smart.