Flight Lieutenant L. F. W. Smith, DSC
SAC 1910-1912

Flight Lieutenant Langley Frank Willard Smith was born at Phillipsburg, Quebec on August 15, 1897, son of Frank Willard and Florence Whitlaw Smith (nee Bond), of Montreal, Canada. He was educated in St. Louis, Missouri, 1904 to 1907, New York City 1907 to 1909, Toronto (St. Andrew's College) 1910 to 1912; and Toronto 1912-1914. 

He was accepted as Royal Naval Aviation Service candidate, January 17, 1916 on the proviso that he obtain a pilot's certificate. He attended Thomas School at St. Augustine, Florida but on failure of school he joined Curtiss School, Newport Mews, Virginia, obtaining ACA Certificate No.521 on July 5th, 1916. Posted to 4 Naval Squadron on 25 April 1917, he scored eight victories flying the Sopwith Pup. In June 1917, his squadron was the first to receive the new Sopwith Camel. A few days later, while attempting to intercept a flight of 16 Gotha bombers, Smith was killed when his Camel lost a wing and broke up in mid-air.

  • Appointed Probationary Flight Sub-Lieutenant, RNAS, Ottawa, 29 June 1916; 
  • Obtained Royal Aero Club Certificate No.3998 on 11 December 1916. 
  • Killed in action at age 19, near Bruges-Ghent on June 12, 1917 while with No.4 (Naval) Squadron, No.4 Wing. 
  • Citation to DSC same as for Shook, Chadwick and Enstone. 
Public Records Office Air 1/74 has a letter from Wing Captain (Dover Patrol) to Headquarters, RNAS dated 15 June 1917 citing A.M. Shook, A. J. Chadwick, and L. F. W. Smith as above, adding "more especially on the occasions of hostile bombing attacks on England."

The same document also has a memo dated 11 June 1917 from Headquarters, No.4 (Naval) Wing, Dunkirk, stating he was on "No.4 Squadron attached to this Wing" and stating that he was "deserving of special recognition" (although no particular award named):

"This officer has shown great courage and daring as a pilot. I credit him with the destruction of five hostile machines and two hostile balloons.

He has on several occasions descended very low in order to attack hostile aircraft and on the 5th June after attacking a balloon crossed the lines at 2,000 feet."

He is buried in the Houtave Churchyard, Zuienkerke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium (Grave Reference: 794. At West end, close to entrance.).
  • The Canadian Virtual War Memorial Page for Langley Smith. This page also includes a link to his commemoration on Page 581 of the First World War Book of Remembrance
  • See also the Langley Smith Page on the Aerodrome Web Site.
Distinguished Service Cross
"For exceptional gallantry and remarkable skill and courage whilst serving with the RNAS at Dunkirk during May and June 1917, in repeatedly attacking and destroying hostile aircraft."
DSC Citation London Gazette dated 11 August 1917.
Commander, Order of the Crown (Belgium)
 Awarded as per London Gazette dated 22 February 1918. 

Croix de Guerre (Belgium)
No citation other than "for distinguished services rendered during the war."
Awarded as per London Gazette dated 22 February 1918.