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Robert W Smith

Military

Flew 27 missions over France and Germany, including12 as lead crew.

AM w/ 3 Oak Leaf Cluster/ DFC

Service

People

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Units served with

  • 466th Bomb Group

    466th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 466th Bomb Group flew B-24 Liberators from Attlebridge, Norfolk, during the last year of the war in Europe. The Group flew 232 missions in the course of the year and celebrated the 100th one by inviting local people onto the base to mark the...

  • 784th Bomb Squadron
  • 786th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

Missions

  • 8th Air Force 275

    23 March 1944
    The industrial areas of Brunswick, Munster, Osnabruck, and Achmer, Germany as well as the airfield at Handorf, Germany become the targets for a force of 768 heavy bombers despatched by all three Air Divisions. The bomber gunner claims on German...

  • 665

    5 October 1944

  • 669

    7 October 1944

  • 688

    25 October 1944

  • 689

    26 October 1944

  • 702

    5 November 1944

  • 712

    11 November 1944

  • 720

    21 November 1944

  • 729

    29 November 1944

  • 745

    10 December 1944

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Associated Place

  • Attlebridge

    Military site : airfield
    Attlebridge was constructed for RAF use and completed to that standard in 1942. However, with news that it was to be assigned to the American Air Force, the runways were extended and additional hardstandings and outbuildings constructed for the heavy...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Arcola, IL 61910, USA 30 November 1923
Lived in Tuscola, IL 61953, USA 1942

908 East Wilson Street

Gas Haul Mission Lille, France 22 September 1944

"I was lucky enough to fly as navigator on the 2nd gas haul mission flown by the Robert Wightman Crew. We landed at a field just south of Lille, France. After unloading the gas, we walked the mile or two into town and proceeded to find the Bellevue Hotel, which had a great band playing American music. They were also serving great cognac that they had managed to hide from the Germans, who had been there only 3 or 4 days before.

Lived in Hanover, IN 47243, USA 2000
Died Hanover, IN 47243, USA 29 October 2011

Robert W. Smith, 87, of Hanover, Indiana, was born November 30, 1923, in Arcola, Illinois, the son of Granville and Mabel (Gee) Smith. He was a 1941 graduate of Tuscola High School in Douglas County, Illinois. After graduation, he studied machining. When he turned 18 he took a defense job with Lucas Harold Corporation, operators of Naval Ordnance in Indianapolis. He started work there the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He also worked at Lucas Harold Corp.'s Manufacturing Machine and Tool Co. in New York City for four months. He enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps on December 5, 1942, and trained as an Aviation Cadet. He was trained as a bombardier at Deming, New Mexico. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant on April 1, 1943. He flew 27 missions aboard B24 Liberator bombers based at Attlebridge Air Base near Norwich, England. As a member of the 466th Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force, he participated in the battles of Northern France, Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe. He was honored with the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with two clusters and the Good Conduct Medal.Because he worked at Naval Ordnance before enlisting in the Air Corps, he was one of only a handful of people who both constructed and used in combat the Norden bombsight, the breakthrough aviation technology of World War II. He had the rare privilege of being in London's Piccadilly Circus to celebrate to VE (Victory in Europe) Day.After the war, he attended DePauw University, graduating in 1949. While he was a student he worked as an agent for State Farm Insurance in Putnam County, Indiana. He also owned a show horse, Pinocchio, with which he competed at various county fairs.In 1951, he married Dorothy Louise Sidney. They made their home and raised their family in Carmel, Indiana.His career was in sales - grocery wholesaling, life insurance, pharmaceuticals and real estate. He was a faithful member of Orchard Park Presbyterian Church and Woodland Springs Christian Church in Carmel. Whenever there was a work party at church, he was there to lend a hand. He volunteered for many community activities, including the Carmel Classic Track and Field Event. He was a volunteer conductor for the Fair Train from Carmel to the State Fair.Always the handyman, he renovated a circa-1900 farmhouse and built an addition that doubled its size for his growing family. He dug and constructed a 16-by-32 foot swimming pool for his family's enjoyment, despite the fact that he didn't swim. He took his family on many camping trips all over North America.In 1980, Bob and his wife sponsored a former South Vietnamese Army officer, Thomas Nam Truong, to come to the United States. He lived in their home until he learned English and became self-sufficient. He became another son to them. Truong now lives in North Hollywood, Calif. He traveled to Indiana for a reunion with the family in 2010.After he retired in 1987, Bob and his wife moved to Ten Cent Road, south of Hanover, Indiana with his own hands, and at the age of 65, he built a beautiful house overlooking the Ohio River. He was a member of Hanover Presbyterian Church and a docent for Historic Madison Inc., volunteering at Dr. Hutching's Office. He was an enthusiastic cheerleader for all his children's and grandchildren's activities.He was a lifelong Republican who often worked at the polls and never missed a chance to vote. He was an avid sports fan, especially of Carmel High School teams, Butler University basketball, the Indianapolis Pacers and the Colts.On June 7, 2011, he and his son traveled to Washington, D.C. to see the World War II Memorial and other sights, as part of the Honor Flight Tri-State program. He had recently become a member of the Distinguished Flying Cross Society.During the final year of his life, he was a resident of Thornton Terrace Health Campus in Hanover. There he enjoyed playing cards, working puzzles, watching old movies and listening to music. Robert died Saturday,October 29, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. at Thornton Terrace Health Campus in Hanover Indiana.

Buried Hanover, IN 47243, USA 2 November 2011

Hanover Cemetery
Hanover
Jefferson County
Indiana, USA

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
28 August 2018 00:24:08 466thHistorian Changes to awards, events and mission associations
Sources

466th BG Archives - Letter and mission list from R.W. Smith to Chris Brassfield circa 2005

Date Contributor Update
04 December 2015 01:29:16 466thHistorian Changes to role, events, person associations, place associations and aircraft associations
Sources

466th BG Historian

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:24:18 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / self & Page 412 in the book 2ND AIR DIVISIONby Turner Publishing Company, 1998 edition (D790.A2S45)

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