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SSgt John Roydon Smith

SSgt John Roydon Smith

Birth
Laconia, Belknap County, New Hampshire, USA
Death 11 Jan 1944 (aged 40)
Lingen, Landkreis Emsland, Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), Germany
Burial Neuville-en-Condroz, Arrondissement de Liège, Liège, Belgium
Memorial ID 56360947 · View Source
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"J. Roydon" as he was known, was the middle child of seven born to Charles Hamilton Smith & Mabel Elore Floyd in Laconia, New Hampshire.

A farming area, Belknap County had been settled long before America became a nation and an ancient mill still stands in Lanconia today as testament to those times.

A farmer and Artesian well driller, Charles Smith brought several of his sons into the drilling business; one of them was John Roydon.

Heeding the call of service, John enlisted in the Army on July 29, 1942 in Manchester, New Hampshire, and was assigned to the Air Corps where he became a part of the 331st Squadron of the 94th Bombing Group of the 8th Army Air Corps. He was a tail gunner, and no doubt considered an 'old man' by the majority of other recruits he found himself with, most of whom were 10-20 years his junior.

Once in "The Mighty Eighth" he was stationed in the town of Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk, England, where the 331st and three other squadrons of the 94th Bombing Group were based at Rougham Air Field.

From British soil, the Yanks launched massive bombing raids against the German Army and their munitions factories, taking heavy losses on each raid.

On Tuesday, January 11th of 1944, John joined the rest of his crew as they climbed into their B-17 on a mission to strike the aircraft factories at Brunswick. It would be his last.

Hit by enemy fighters, their B-17 had to be ditched over Lingen, Germany, and the entire 10 man crew grabbed their parachutes and bailed from the damaged plane, but John's chute failed to open.

The rest of the crew were all captured and spent the remainder of the war as POW's in various Stalags until liberated 16 months later.

Staff Sergeant John Roydon Smith was posthumously awarded the Air Medal & a Purple Heart.

(You can find the rest of his crew in my Virtual Cemetery for the crew of 'Patches' by following the dashboard links. Please contact me if you knew or are related to any of these men.)

NOTE: I have recently been notified that Mr. F. Reale, a member of the ASBL Ardennes reenactment group, has adopted several graves in the Henri Chapelle and Neuvielle en Condroz cemeteries to care for, one of them being SSgt Smith's. Thank you, Mr. Reale, for your kindness and generosity of spirit.

Gravesite Details Entered the service from New Hampshire.

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  • Maintained by: Barbara Haines
  • Originally Created by: CWGC/ABMC
  • Added: 7 Aug 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 56360947
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for SSgt John Roydon Smith (26 Oct 1903–11 Jan 1944), Find A Grave Memorial no. 56360947, citing Ardennes American Cemetery and Memorial, Neuville-en-Condroz, Arrondissement de Liège, Liège, Belgium ; Maintained by Barbara Haines (contributor 47313090) .