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Air Commodore G F Smylie (15108)

Gilbert Formby             b: 22 Aug 1895                    r: 1 Jul 1949                            d:  5 Jul 1965

CB  - 1 Jan 1946, DSC – 31 Dec 1915, MiD – 14 Mar 1916, MiD – 1 Jan 1945,

(RNAS): - Flt Sub-Lt (P): 7 Apr 1915, Flt Sub-Lt: 3 Sep 1915 [7 Apr 1915], Flt Lt: 1 Jan 1916, Flt Cdr: 31 Dec 1917,

(RAF): - Capt: 1 Apr 1918, Flt Lt: 1 Aug 1919 – 5 Jun 1921; 1 Jan 1923, Fg Off: 16 Jul 1921, Sqn Ldr: 7 Jan 1931, Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1937, (T) Gp Capt: 1 Mar 1940, Gp Capt: 14 Apr 1942 [1 Mar 1940], (T) A/Cdre: 1 Nov 1942, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1947.

xx xxx 1915:                 Pilot, No 2/3 Wing RNAS

xx xxx 1916:                 Pilot, Isle of Grain Air Station.

xx xxx 1917:                 Instructor, Eastchurch Air Station.

 3 Dec 1919:                Transferred to the Unemployed List.

10 Apr 1921:               Restored to the Active List for temporary duty in the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

 5 Jun 1921:                 Re-transferred to Unemployed List.

16 Jul 1921:                 Appointed to a Permanent Commission in the rank of Flying Officer.

31 Oct 1921:               Pilot, No 216 Sqn.

xx xxx xxxx:                 Supernumerary?

19 Sep 1925:               Attended Officers Engineering Course, Home Aircraft Depot.

12 Oct 1926:               Attended Cambridge University.

15 Jul 1928:                 Staff, No 1 Apprentices Wing, No 1 School of Technical Training (Apprentices).

19 Jan 1931:                Attended RAF Staff College.

 1 Jan 1932:                 'B' Flight Commander, No 58 Sqn.

xx Jan 1934:                Supernumerary?

 8 Mar 1934:               Engineering Officer, HQ RAF Middle East.

23 Oct 1938:               Supernumerary, RAF Depot.

 5 Jan 1939:                 Senior Engineering Officer, HQ Balloon Command

23 Sep 1940:               Officer Commanding, RAF Benson/No 12 OTU

xx xxx 1941:                Sick Leave

26 Sep 1941:               Officer Commanding, RAF Chipping Warden/No 12 OTU

 5 Jan 1942:                 Preparing for posting overseas

12 Jul 1942:                 AOC, No 206 Group

xx xxx 1944:                 AOC, No 214 Group

xx xxx 1944:                 Director of Technical Training.

16 Jun 1947:                Command Engineer Officer, HQ Flying Training Command.

He gained his RAeC Certificate, No 1288 on 31 May 1915

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Service Cross (and Victoria Cross)

“The KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the grant of the Victoria Cross to Squadron-Commander Richard Bell Davies, D.S.O., R.N., and of the Distinguished Service Cross to Flight Sub-Lieutenant Gilbert Formby Smylie, R.N., in recognition of their behaviour in the following circumstances: —

On the 19th November these two officers carried out an air attack on Ferrijik Junction. Flight Sub-Lieutenant Smylie's machine was received by very heavy fire and brought down. The pilot planed down over the station, releasing all his bombs except one, which failed to drop, simultaneously at the station from a very low altitude.  Thence he continued his descent into the marsh.

On alighting he saw the one unexploded bomb, and set fire to his machine, knowing that the bomb would ensure its destruction.  He then proceeded towards Turkish territory.

At this moment he perceived Squadron Commander Davies descending, and fearing that he would come down near the burning machine and thus risk destruction from the bomb, Flight Sub-Lieutenant Smylie ran back and from a short distance exploded the bomb by means of a pistol bullet. Squadron Commander Davies descended at a safe distance from the burning machine, took up Sub-Lieutenant Smylie, in spite of the near approach of a party of the enemy, and returned to the aerodrome, a feat of airmanship that can seldom have been equalled for skill and gallantry.”

(London Gazette – 31 December 1915)

This page was last updated on 09/12/19

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