Flight Sub-Lieutenant LANGLEY FRANK WILLARD SMITH
Regiment/Service: 4th Sqdn. 4th Wing Royal Naval Air Service
Awards: DSC, Croix de Guerre (Belgium), Order of the Crown (Belgium).
Cemetery: HOUTAVE CHURCHYARD
Canadian Flying Ace in World War I credited with 8 victories.
Smith was born in Philipsburg, in the Province of Quebec, and was brought up by his grandmother, his father having been widowed. Whilst attending Flying School in St. Augustine, Florida, Smith accidentally stepped into a revolving propeller and received near-fatal head injuries. However he completed his training at the Curtiss Flying School in Newport News, Virginia, qualifying as a pilot on 29 June 1916.
Returning to Canada, he joined the Royal Naval Air Service in September 1916 and Flight Sub-Lieutenant Smith received Royal Aero Club Aviator’s Certificate 3998 on 11 December 1916.
Posted to 4 Naval Squadron on 25 April 1917, he scored eight victories flying the Sopwith Pup between 30 April and 6 June 1917. 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.
Distinguished Service Cross awarded ‘For exceptional gallantry and remarkable skill and courage whilst serving with the R.N.A.S. at Dunkirk during May and June, 1917, in repeatedly attacking and destroying hostile aircraft.’