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Sgt Smythe - an unassuming but successful fighter pilot

George Smythe was born in Westminster, London on 10th June 1915. He joined the RAF in January 1932 as an Aircraft Apprentice and passed out in December 1934. He later applied for pilot training and was selected. He married Edith Margaret Askew in Lincolnshire at some time in 1939.

After completing his training he joined 56 Squadron on 3rd September 1939.

Over Dunkirk on 27th May 1940 Smythe probably destroyed a Me110 and on the 29th destroyed a Ju87. On 7th and 30th June he claimed Me109s destroyed; on 13th July he probably destroyed a Ju87; on 12th August a Me109 and on the 16th a probable Me110 and another damaged. Smythe wrecked Hurricane P3473 in a forced-landing at Courtsend, Foulness on the 26th after combat with Me109s. On the 28th he destroyed a Me109 and was then shot down himself by another. He baled out unhurt. The Hurricane, N2524, crashed in flames at Ladwood Farm, Acrise.

Smythe was awarded the DFM (gazetted 30th August 1940). He was a Flight Sergeant by 5th November 1940.

Commissioned in January 1942, Smythe was at HQ Kandy in September 1945 as a Squadron Leader on staff duties.

He was made an MBE (gazetted 13th June 1946) and retired from the RAF on 24th November 1961 as a Wing Commander. Smythe died on 14th April 1995 in Surrey.

Photos and text courtesy of Battle of Britain Monument website

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