Raymond Major Smith

Raymond Major Smith

Birth
Bury St Edmunds, St Edmundsbury Borough, Suffolk, England
Death 16 Oct 1944 (aged 15–16)
Sudbury, Babergh District, Suffolk, England
Burial Sudbury, Babergh District, Suffolk, England
Plot Plot No. IGG 0225.
Memorial ID 70118956 · View Source
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Civilian casualty of WWII, Raymond was killed when an American airplane crashed on his home-he was 15.
B-17G, Flying Fortress, No 43-38137 commanded by Second Lieutenant Clarence B. Hermann took off at 05:38 hours in the darkness of early morning, 15th October 1944 from Sudbury Airfield in Suffolk, to take part in a bombing mission on Cologne. It was the sixth aircraft to take off but the No 4 engine failed and although the aircraft had attained take-off speed and lifted off, its wing lights showed that it was unable to gain altitude. These bombers were invariably flying with 3,000lbs above their design rate being laden with extra fuel, ammunition and bomb loads. It bore to the right then a loud explosion was heard and the glow of a fire lit up the morning darkness. The plane had torn into the top part of the Woodhall farmhouse near the end of the runway. It then continued on a short distance before exploding in a field beyond the house. Pieces of the aircraft were scattered over a wide area and the field was blackened by fire. Eight of the nine man crew were killed but the pilot was blown clear when the aircraft exploded. He was taken to the Station hospital at Acton where he spent two months recovering. On December 18 he was flown back to the USA still seriously injured and was never well enough to be interviewed about the cause of the crash. He died in 1976. Major Smith (Major may have been his forename rather than military rank) and his family lived in the farmhouse. He later told how he was awakened from a deep sleep and thought that the house was coming down on them all. He got his wife and two daughters down the stairs and into the garden then went back for Raymond , his 15-year old son. He found the stairs to Raymond's bedroom blocked with debris and a fire burning on that floor above. Raymond appeared climbing down through the debris. At first sight he did not look too bad but it soon became apparent that his face and hands were badly burned. An American jeep took him to the local hospital where a Dr Rix found that in addition to the burns he also had severe damage to his lungs. That lung damage and shock due to the burns led to Raymond's death the following day at St Leonards Hospital As at May 2011, Raymond is not commemorated on the official list of civilian war dead-this list covers not just those killed as a direct result of enemy action, and his death would be regarded as caused by ‘friendly fire'. This situation is being rectified as at May 2011. The site of the crash is now a Tesco Supermarket and a plaque commemorating the tragedy is affixed to the wall. It was unveiled in September 1999 and was attended by Raymond's sisters, Joyce Smith and Daphne Felton. The photograph of the memorial plaque has been kindly provided by Tesco Photo, part of the Tesco global group of companies.Two USAAF Mustangs flew overhead at the ceremony.
Of the 8 USAAF casualties,6 are interred at Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial;

John W. Jackson
Vernon A. Meierhenry
Ralph M. Spaulding, Jr.
William M. Annan
Joseph K. Cook
Robert R. Stone



birth record:Births Dec 1928 Smith Raymond M Bury St.E. 4a 1413


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: geoffrey gillon
  • Added: 20 May 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 70118956
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Raymond Major Smith (1928–16 Oct 1944), Find A Grave Memorial no. 70118956, citing Sudbury Cemetery, Sudbury, Babergh District, Suffolk, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave (contributor 8) .