CPC Oral History Project – Gordon B. Smith

Gordon B. Smith was born in the east end of Toronto on February 25th, 1924. He attended Eastern Commerce, but left to enter the workforce before graduating. When the war came, Gord was eager to follow his older brother’s example, and joined up right as soon as he was able. He spent a year doing gunnery and communications training, working to become a Wireless Air Gunner. The very day that Gord graduated from his own training in the RCAF, the family received the news that Gord’s brother had been killed during a bombing mission; Gord remembers this as a very bittersweet occasion for the family. Not long after, Gord was making his way to Britain aboard the Queen Mary. An eventful journey followed, and soon the men were in Britain, ready to make their mark on the war. Gord and the other men crewed up, and he was assigned to Squadron 419 – the Moose Squadron. Gord and his crewmates began flying missions, attacking targets in Nazi-occupied Europe, from coastal installations to industrial targets in the heart of the Ruhr valley. They were accurate, prompting the RAF to take notice; a promotion to the elite Pathfinders followed. Working in the two areas Gord accumulated a total of 59 flying operations, virtually doubling the required 30 and earning the Distinguished Flying Medal. Please help us celebrate Gordon’s 97th birthday this week by taking a moment to listen to his stories, preserved for posterity as part of the Crestwood Oral History Project.