Graham Natt SMITH

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SMITH, Graham Natt

Service Number: 416719
Enlisted: 16 August 1941, Victor Harbour, South Australia
Last Rank: Pilot Officer
Last Unit: No. 263 Squadron (RAF)
Born: Strathalbyn, South Australia, 30 September 1922
Home Town: Waikerie, Loxton Waikerie, South Australia
Schooling: Taylorville and Waikerie Schools
Occupation: Station hand
Died: Accidental (plane crash), Warmwell, Dorset, England, 12 March 1944, aged 21 years
Cemetery: Bath (Haycombe) Cemetery
Memorials: Adelaide WW2 Wall of Remembrance, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Waikerie War Memorial
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World War 2 Service

16 Aug 1941: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman 2 (WW2), SN 416719, Victor Harbour, South Australia
12 Mar 1944: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Pilot Officer, SN 416719, No. 263 Squadron (RAF), Empire Air Training Scheme

Updated information for Graham SMITH

Pilot Officer
Graham Natt SMITH
30-9-1922 – 12-3-1944

Graham Natt SMITH was born on 30th September 1922 to Morrell Murray Smith and Jessie Smith, of Brookmor, via Morgan. Morrell was a veteran of the ‘Great War’ and Grahams Uncle Clem, was killed in that conflict. Graham had a brother with the AIF, another brother in the RAN and a sister in the WAAAF's.

Graham was born at Strathalbyn but educated at Taylorville school and won a scholarship that gained him two years at the Waikerie Higher Primary School. He passed his Intermediate with credits.

Before enlisting on 16th August 1941 in Adelaide, he was working as a station hand on his uncle's station at Wurrulde, and with his father at Boggy Flat, where his grandparents took up land in 1897.
Graham was described as 18 years and 10 months old, 6’ 3” tall, 153 lbs with brown eyes and hair. He had a “medium” complexion. He had burn scars on the left side of his head.

After completing his initial training Graham sailed in March 1942 via NZ for Canada, where he gained his wings. After leave in New York he sailed for the UK.

After, four months in England he was promoted to Sergeant, and was flying Whirlwind and Typhoon fighter planes on missions over France and attacking German airfields and shipping.

On 12-3-1944 Graham was training in a Typhoon fighter over Warmwell, Dorsett and supposed to be practising low flying formations when his plane crashed into the ground killing him instantly.

Graham had been assessed as an excellent pilot and received his commission six weeks before he was killed. He died aged 21 years and 6 months.

No mechanical cause could be determined for the plane accident but a RAF Court of Enquiry stated :- "The aircraft took off from RAF WARMWELL at 1450 hours and while waiting for his No. 1 to be airborne, PO SMITH dived at a low altitude across the airfield towards the dispersal point then pulled up sharply and attempted to roll to starboard. The engine cut momentarily twice and then the pilot appeared unable to recover from the manoeuvre and the aircraft struck the ground at high speed"

The Engineer Officer at RAF WARMWELL stated :- "the engine cuts were due to mishandling on the part of the pilot" The Court of Enquiry concluded that "the accident was due to a breach of flying discipline by the pilot"

(**The RAAF accident enquiry into this incident has still not been made public but very likely has the same results listed.)

In a letter to Mr. and Mrs. Smith the CO of Graham's squadron wrote: "Graham joined this squadron more than a year ago and for a considerable time had been engaged on operational flying against the Hun. He was always most eager to engage the enemy and was an exceptional pilot. The country can ill afford the loss of such a pilot. Your grand boy was a most popular member of the squadron and we -all feel we have lost a loyal and sincere friend. May I express the sympathy we all feel for you in your sad loss."

Graham SMITH is interred in the Bath Cemetery and is commemorated on the Australian War Memorial on the Roll of Honour.

He is commemorated on the Roll of Honour on the 1939-1945 Honour Boards at the Waikerie Soldiers Memorial Institute and Hall. Graham is also commemorated with a tree and plaque in the WAIKERIE War Memorial Gardens

LEST WE FORGET

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Biography

Graham Natt SMITH was born on 30th September 1922 to Morrell Murray Smith and Jessie Smith, of Brookmor, via Morgan.  Morrell was a veteran of the ‘Great War’ and Grahams Uncle Clem, was killed in that conflict. Graham had a brother with the AIF, another brother in the RAN and a sister in the WAAAF's.

Graham was born at Strathalbyn but educated at Taylorville school and won a scholarship that gained him two years at the Waikerie Higher Primary School. He passed his Intermediate with credits.  

Before enlisting on 16th August 1941 in Adelaide, he was working as a station hand on his uncle's station at Wurrulde, and with his father at Boggy Flat, where his grandparents took up land in 1897.

Graham was described as 18 years and 10 months old, 6’ 3” tall, 153 lbs with brown eyes and hair. He had a “medium” complexion. He had burn scars on the left side of his head. 

After completing his initial training Graham sailed in March 1942 via NZ for Canada, where he gained his wings. After leave in New York he sailed for the UK.

After, four months in England he was promoted to Sergeant, and was flying Whirlwind and Typhoon fighter planes on missions over France and attacking German airfields and shipping.

On 12-3-1944 Graham was training in a Typhoon fighter over Warmwell, Dorsett when his plane unexpectedly spun into the ground killing him instantly.

Graham had been assessed as an excellent pilot and received his commission six weeks before he was killed. He died aged 21 years and 6 months. No cause could be determined for the plane accident but it was believed to be caused by equipment failure.

In a letter to Mr. and Mrs. Smith the CO of Graham's squadron wrote: "Graham joined this squadron more than a year ago and for a considerable time had been engaged on operational flying against the Hun. He was always most eager to engage the enemy and was an exceptional pilot. The country can ill afford the loss of such a pilot. Your grand boy was a most popular member of the squadron and we -all feel we have lost a loyal and sincere friend.  May I express the sympathy we all feel for you in your sad loss."

Graham SMITH is interred in the Bath Cemetery and is commemorated on the Australian War Memorial on the Roll of Honour.

 Graham is also commemorated with a tree and plaque in the WAIKERIE War Memorial Gardens

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Cemetery: BATH (HAYCOMBE) CEMETERY - Grave: Plot 39. Sec. H. Row B. Grave 249.

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