207 SQUADRON ROYAL AIR FORCE HISTORY
Trevor Smart's Immediate DFC
LM535 EM-R Amiens 19/20 May 1944
RAF Manston in Kent had a very long runway and was near the coast, so crippled aircraft were directed there in order to keep other bases open for the return of less damaged aircraft. Between July 1944 and May 1946, Warren A. Radley's grandfather was a Warrant Officer stationed there, serving with 3017 Servicing Echelon.
Warren recently acquired the family album, and thought we would be interested in three photographs that were found in the collection. On the back of all the pictures is typed :
Lancaster III No LM535, No 207 Squadron, RAF Spilsbury [should be Spilsby].
Force landed at RAF Station, Manston, Kent on the 20th May 1944 at 02.40 hours.
We are very grateful to Warren for providing copies of these photographs.
Our squadron history Always Prepared says of this incident:
"The news that Flt Lt Street had been brutally shot while trying to escape from PoW camp [Sagan, he was one of the 'Great Escapers'] was received by the Squadron on 19 May, and this fact no doubt stiffened the resolve of the eighteen crews briefed to attack Amiens that night, their instructions being that they must bomb on markers in order to avoid civilian casualties.
In the hands of F/O T Smart, Lancaster EM-P [LM535] was making its run up to the target when there was a resounding crash, and it was at once obvious that EM-P had collided with another aircraft.
The Rear Gunner's turret was demolished : he survived !
Although pieces of metal had been torn off, F/O Smart managed to regain control and the bomb aimer released the load, soon after which the Master Bomber ordered cessation of bombing due to bad visibility.
It was then possible for the crew of EM-P to take stock of the damage, and it was seen that two or three feet of wing had been torn off and only three feet of port tailplane still survived.
In addition, the W/T set was out of action. Damaged as much as this the Lancaster was well-nigh impossible to control, and at first it wandered around over Northern France, but before long F/O Smart found ways of managing the situation and began to steer towards the emergency runway at Manston, not wishing to make a ditching in the dark.
The port tailplane
When the crippled aircraft crossed the English coast its altitude was only 400 feet, and moments later it touched down safely, ninety minutes after the collision.
The port wing
After engineers had examined the aircraft they said that in theory it was impossible for it to have remained in the air! F/O Smart was awarded an immediate DFC for his efforts, only to be posted missing on the night of 21/22 June".
He was lost in Lancaster LM578 EM-C, on the raid on the hydrogenation plant at Wesseling near Cologne.
Trevor Smart has no known grave - one of his crew that night was washed up on the English coast and is buried in the UK, the rest were washed up at various points on the Dutch coast and rest in three Dutch cemeteries:
Pilot F/O Trevor Tressler Smart DFC RAF(VR) age 20 NKG F/E Sgt Ronald Charles McArthur RAF(VR) age 19 Castricum Protestant Churchyard Nav F/O Douglas John Faires RAF(VR) age 20 Castricum Protestant Churchyard W/Op F/Sgt Henry Archibald Shaw RAF(VR) age 21 Bergen General Cemetery B/A F/O Lyle Edward Bowes RAAF age 21 Cambridge City Cemetery M/U Sgt Kenneth Walter Sansom RAF(VR) age 21 The Hague (Westduin) General Cemetery R/G P/O Charles David Boyce RCAF age 20 Castricum Protestant Churchyard B/A2 F/Sgt Leslie Frederick Jackson RAF(VR) age 22 Castricum Protestant Churchyard
LM535 was sold for scrap on 7th May 1947. [Note: it appears that Francis K Mason's book The Avro Lancaster incorrectly states that LM535 took part in the Mailly le Camp raid of 3/4 May 1944 and the Wesseling raid of 21/22 June 1944.]
If anyone can add to the information on this page please contact the website editor
207 Squadron Royal Air Force History
18 Mar 2001, updated 9 Aug 2005: the editor's father was also shot down on the Wesseling raid but evaded.