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Charles H. Smith


Element leader 381st FS 363rd FG.
He flew 48 missions from Staplehurst, England. On his 49th mission 1Lt Smith was downed on a escort mission to Berlin on May 24, 1944. Flying P-51B s/n 42-106834 B3+Q Smith crash landed near Ostend, Belgium. Within seconds of sliding to a stop, a German officer stepped onto the wing and pointed his Luger at the dazed pilot and asked if he wished to surrender. Smith spent the rest of the war in Europe in Stalag Luft III. After his liberation Smith requested overseas duty and was assigned to the 44th FS flying P-38Ls in the Philippines. He stayed with the 44th through 1947 flying later P-51Ds and P-47Ns. After serving in both Korea and Vietnam he retired from the USAF in 1972.


Units served with

  • 363rd Fighter Group

    363rd Fighter Group

    Equipped with P-51s, the Group entered combat from England in February 1944, flying bomber escort and ground-strafing missions. They took part in the invasion of Normandy, protecting gliders and troop carriers on 6 and 7 June. In September 1944, now...

  • 381st Fighter Squadron


  • 42-106834

    P-51 Mustang
    381st FS 363rd FG 1Lt Chuck Smith-pilot Lost due to engine failure May 24, 1944. MACR #15234

Associated Place

  • Rivenhall

    Military site : airfield
    Originally allocated to the Eighth Air Force as a heavy bomber base, Rivenhall was built during 1943-44 but transferred to the Ninth Air Force before construction was complete. It had three concrete runways, 51 loop hardstandings and two dispersed T2...

  • Staplehurst

    Military site : airfield
    Built during 1943 as an Advanced Landing Ground (ALG), Staplehurst was used briefly by RAF fighter squadrons during August to October 1943 and then allocated to the Ninth Air Force. Developed and improved during the winter of 1943-44, the station...

  • Stalag Luft III

    Other location


Event Location Date


Date Contributor Update
07 August 2017 04:01:11 fugari Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, nickname, nationality, service number, highest rank, role, biography, unit associations, place associations, aircraft associations and media associations

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