Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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Air Vice-Marshal H G Smart

Wing Commander H G SmartH G Smart - 1916Harry George              

b: 28 Jun 1891             r: 1 Sep 1945              d: 28 Jun 1963

CBE - 24 Sep 1941 (OBE - 30 Dec 1922), DFC - 28 Oct 1921, AFC - 3 Jun 1927, MiD - 2 Jun 1943, OP(GO) - 29 Dec 1942.

For a list of foreign decoration abbreviations, click here

(Army): - Spr: xx xxx 1913, L/Cpl: xx xxx xxxx, Cpl: xx xxx xxxx, (T) 2 Lt: 30 Nov 1915, (T) Lt: 30 Nov 1916, Capt: 23 Jul 1917.

(RAF): - (T) Capt [Lt]: 1 Apr 1918, (T) Maj (A & S): 30 Apr 1918 Act Maj: 1 May 1919, Flt Lt: 1 Aug 1919 [1 Apr 1918], Act Sqn Ldr: 1 Aug 1919, Sqn Ldr: 30 Jun 1922, Wg Cdr: 1 Jul 1929, Gp Capt: 1 Jul 1935, A/Cdre: 1 Apr 1939, Act AVM (unpd): 23 Nov 1939 - 28 Feb 1940, Act AVM (pd): 1 Mar 1940 - 17 May 1941; 6 Mar 1943, AVM: Retained.

Photograph (Left) © Crown Copyright

xx xxx 1913:            Sapper, Royal Engineers.

30 Nov 1915:         Appointed to a commission for duty with the RFC.

29 Apr 1916:          Pilot, No 60 Sqn RFC. (Morane Bullet, Morane Biplane – Western Front)

25 May 1916:         Embarked for France (by air with No 60 Sqn)

8 Sep 1916:            Attended Machine Gun Course

17-20 Dec 1916:     Temporary duty in Paris

2 Dec 1916:            Returned to Home Establishment

23 Jul 1917:            Appointed Flight Commander, RFC.

30 Apr 1918:          Officer Commanding, No ? Sqn.

 2 Jan 1919:           Officer Commanding,  No 208 Sqn. (Snipe - Germany)

 1 Aug 1919:           Awarded Permanent Commission as a Captain

28 Aug 1919:          Returned to Home Establishment  

7 Nov 1919:

 9 Feb 1920:           Flight Commander, No 6 Sqn. (Bristol F2B - Mosul)

xx May 1920:        Acting Officer Commanding?, No 6 Sqn. (Bristol F2B - Mosul)

21 Apr 1922:         Acting Officer Commanding?, No 6 Sqn. (Bristol F2B - Mosul)

5 Nov 1922:           Supernumerary, RAF Depot.

 4 Feb 1923:           CFI, Central Flying School.

12 Nov 1927:         Attached to Royal Australian Air Force.

 3 Feb 1930:           Officer Commanding (designate?), No 99 Sqn.

19 Feb 1930:          Officer Commanding, No 99 Sqn. (Hyderabad, Hinaidi – Upper Heyford)

 1 Aug 1932:           Officer Commanding, Engineering Section, HQ Inland Area.

21 Feb 1935:          Supernumerary, Central Flying School.

 7 Mar 1935:          Commandant, Central Flying School.

14 Sep 1935:          Special Duties in the USA

18 Jan 1937:           Commandant, A. & A.E.E/Officer Commanding, RAF Martlesham Heath.

20 Dec 1938:          SASO, HQ No 12 (Fighter) Group.

26 Oct 1939:           AOC, AHQ British Forces in Iraq.

17 Nov 1941:          AOC, No 17 (Operational Training) Group.

He was educated at Framlingham before joining the Royal Engineers in 1913.

He took command of the CFS in 1935 and was soon tasked with supervising it's relocation from Wittering back to it's original home at Upavon.  Two weeks after completing the move he was sent to the USA to study US instructional methods.  He was the AOC in Iraq at the time of the Iraqi attempt to overrun the RAF base of Habbaniya.  However, he was unable to cope with the diplomatic pressures of the situation and took very little active part in the control of the forces under his command.  He was eventually evacuated out of Habbaniya on medical grounds having reputedly been injured in a car accident.

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross

"Flight Lieutenant Harry George Smart R.A.F.

For energy, gallantry and leadership.  This officer has shown a very fine example to his fellow officers, especially during low bombing raids, when he has frequently descended among heavy rifle fire to very low altitude to ensure accurate bombing of small targets. He has taken part in 25 day bombing raids and two night raids."

(London Gazette - 28 October 1921)

Citation for the award of Officer of the Order of the British Empire

"SMART, Harry George, S/L, DFC

For outstanding devotion to duty.  This officer has flown more than 100 hours over the desert, and on several occasions was in command of the flight responsible for the pioneer work in connection with the opening of the Aerial Route.  His reconnaissance work across unmapped country was carried out at great risk to himself.  These services frequently necessitated the spending of nights in the desert under conditions of hardship and with the possibility of attack from marauding tribesmen.  Squadron Leader Smart in addition performed most valuable work on bomb raids, both by day and by night, and [on] all occasions has shown an outstanding example of efficiency."

(Source – Air 30/49)

Citation for the award of the Air Force Cross

"SMART, Harry George, S/L, OBE, DFC 

Squadron Leader Smart has been Chief Flying Instructor at the Central Flying School for over four years and by his keenness, skill and hard work has maintained a very high standard of flying efficiency during this period.  He is possessed of remarkable enthusiasm, which has so inspired the instructors who have passed through his hands that his influence has been felt in all units engaged in flying training work."

(Source –Air 2/306)

This was not the first time he had been recommended, for Air Commodore Burnham-Carter (Air Officer Commanding, No.23 Group) wrote on 24 March 1927 of having recommended Squadron Leader Smart “again” for the award.  He had been put up for an AFC in November 1926.  His OBE related to the opening of the Amman-Hamadish air route. 

This page was last updated on 15/07/23

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