W. G. G. Duncan Smith
|W. G. G. Duncan Smith|
Wing Commander Smith with "Bonzo", an RAF squadron bulldog mascot in Italy, 1943
|Birth name||Wilfrid George Gerald Duncan Smith|
|Born||28 May 1914|
|Died||11 December 1996(aged 82)|
|Service/branch||Royal Air Force|
|Years of service||1936–1960|
|Commands held||No. 64 Squadron RAF|
|Battles/wars||World War II
|Awards||Distinguished Service Order & Bar
Distinguished Flying Cross & Two Bars
|Relations||Iain Duncan Smith (son)|
Duncan Smith was born in Madras, India on 28 May 1914, the son of an officer in the Indian civil service. He was educated at Nairn and Morrison's Academy, Crieff, in Scotland, where he joined his school's Officers' Training Corps. Returning to India in 1933, he became a coffee and tea planter, but in 1936 returned to the UK as a mechanical engineer, and then as a salesman for Great Western Motors in Reading. With war looming he joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.
World War II
Serving with No. 7 Operational Training Unit at the outbreak of war, Smith was posted to the Spitfire-equipped No. 611 Squadron RAF at RAF Hornchurch in October 1940. He was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) in June 1941, and went to No. 603 Squadron RAF in August 1941 as a Flight Commander. Smith was due for a rest but had to remain operational, leading his squadron while bringing their new squadron leader up to speed. On 20 November he was taken ill, passing out after returning from a convoy patrol. Smith spent some time in hospital with double pneumonia, the symptoms of which he had assumed was only the result of exhaustion from a long operational tour.
Upon recovery in January 1942, Duncan Smith rejoined the "Hornchurch Wing", now flying the improved Spitfire Mk. IX. In March 1942 he was promoted to squadron leader and given command of No. 64 Squadron RAF. During the ill-fated Dieppe Raid on 19 August, Duncan-Smith was shot down but rescued from the English Channel. In August he became Wing Commander, flying at RAF North Weald. In November he was rested from operations with a posting to take charge of the Tactics Branch at Fighter Command, his input leading to the formation of the Fighter Command School of Tactics at RAF Charmy Down.
While Smith's non-operational tour was recognised as very productive, he began to seek a return to operations, and he was sent to Malta to command the 244th Fighter Wing. During this time his flew in support of the Allied landings on Sicily. In September 1943, engine failure forced him to bail out into the sea, being rescued after five hours adrift. As a Group Captain, he then took charge of 324 Wing, finally leaving in March 1945.
Duncan Smith was credited with 17 confirmed kills, two shared kills, six probables, two shared probables and eight damaged in aerial combat. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and Bar and the DFC and two Bars in recognition of his bravery.
He was the author of Spitfire into Battle (1981), an account of aerial combat in the Supermarine Spitfire.
His wife, Pamela Summers (whom he married in 1946) was a ballet dancer who was born in Nanking, China where her father was a commissioner in the Chinese Postal Service. Her maternal grandmother was Ellen Oshey Matsumuro, a Japanese woman whose father was a Japanese artist. Their son Iain Duncan Smith is a politician who was leader of the Conservative Party from September 2001 to November 2003 and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in the Coalition government of 2010. In his office hangs a portrait of their ancestor Adam Duncan, the admiral who defeated the Dutch Navy at the Battle of Camperdown in 1797.
Honours and awards
- 22 July 1941 – Pilot Officer Wilfrid George Gerald Duncan Smith (85684), No. 611 Squadron is appointed a Distinguished Flying Cross:
This officer has participated in many operational flights over enemy territory and has always displayed the utmost keenness to engage the enemy. During recent operations, Pilot Officer Smith has destroyed at least three hostile aircraft.
- 26 December 1941 – Acting Flight Lieutenant W.G.G. Duncan Smith DFC (85684), No. 603 Squadron is awarded Bar to Distinguished Flying Cross:
During 1941, this officer has carried out 190 operational patrols, 98 of which have been over enemy territory. By his skill, coolness and strong sense of duty, Flight Lieutenant Smith has set a splendid example to all. He has always devoted himself unselfishly to the success of his squadron thereby contributing materially to its achievements. Flight Lieutenant Smith has destroyed at least 5 enemy aircraft.
- 11 September 1942 – Squadron Leader W.G.G. Duncan Smith DFC (85684), No. 64 Squadron is awarded the Distinguished Service Order:
Since being awarded a Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross, this officer has completed a great number of sorties. He is a brilliant pilot and a fine leader whose skill has proved a source of inspiration to all. Squadron Leader Smith has destroyed 10 and probably destroyed several other enemy aircraft.
- 20 March 1945 – Acting Group Captain W.G.G. Duncan Smith DSO, DFC (85684) is awarded a Bar to the Distinguished Service Order:
- Price, Dr. Alfred. Spitfire Mark V Aces 1941 – 1945. London: Osprey Publishing, 1997. ISBN 978-1-85532-635-4.
- Price, Dr. Alfred. Spitfire Mark I/II Aces 1939 – 41. London: Osprey Publishing, 1996. ISBN 978-1-85532-627-9
- "Group Captain Duncan Smith". RAF Hornchurch Project. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- Price 1997, p. 25.
- The London Gazette: . 29 September 1952. Retrieved 16 March 2009.
- Waugh, Paul (20 March 2014). "Battle for Britain". The House Magazine.
- "Tory chief's desert island discs". BBC. 25 November 2002. Retrieved 6 May 2008.
- The London Gazette: . 22 July 1941. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- The London Gazette: . 26 December 1941. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- The London Gazette: . 8 September 1942. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- The London Gazette: . 20 March 1945. Retrieved 12 December 2014.