Smyth, John Stanley (No. 139301)

Smyth, John Stanley (Stanley)

Pilot Officer

No. 139301, 51 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Killed on active service on Monday 26 July 1943 (aged 29)


Castricum Protestant Churchyard, Noord-Holland, Netherlands (Plot J. Collective Grave 7)


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Bangor and District War Memorial

Hamilton Road Presbyterian Church, Bangor

Bangor Grammar School

Family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery, Newtownards Road, Bangor


John Stanley Smyth was born on 18 April 1914 at 16 Victoria Road, Bangor, and he was the second son of John and Sarah (sometimes Sara) Smyth (nee McClean) who were married on 16 September 1909 in Hamilton Road Presbyterian Church, Bangor.  John Smyth, a grocer from Bangor was a son of Jeremiah Smyth, a weaver.  Sarah McClean from Bangor was a daughter of William McClean, a butcher.

John and Sarah Smyth (nee McClean) had three children who were baptised in Hamilton Road Presbyterian Church:

Karl Kamon (born 3 September 1910 at 16 Victoria Road, Bangor)

John Stanley (born 18 April 1914 at 16 Victoria Road, Bangor)

Robert McClean (Bertie, born 30 December 1916 at 16 Victoria Road, Bangor)

The Smyth family lived at 20 Hamilton Road, Bangor.

John Stanley Smyth was educated at Main Street Public Elementary School in Bangor and then at Bangor Grammar School from 1925 until 1931 when he gained the Queen’s University Belfast Matriculation.  He played rugby for the school and later for Bangor Rugby Club.

Stanley Smyth was apprenticed to the pharmacy business with Mr R. McCutcheon in Bangor, and he qualified as a Member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland.  He was employed by Mr R. Morrow, Conway Square, Newtownards.

On 21 August 1941 Stanley Smyth and Olive Maude McKay Perry of 78 Beechwood Avenue, Londonderry were married in Strand (Second Derry) Presbyterian Church, and their baby son was born on 9 December 1942.

Stanley’s younger brother Bertie served with the Royal Artillery and was captured at Tobruk in June 1942.

John Stanley Smyth enlisted in July 1942 and on completing his training in England and the USA he received his commission as a Pilot Officer in March 1943.  On 25 July 1943 Pilot Officer John Stanley Smyth (No. 139301) was one of a seven-man crew aboard a Handley Page Halifax Mark II aircraft (HR934) that took off at 10.26 pm from RAF Snaith in Yorkshire on a mission to bomb Essen.  Initially, the aircraft was ‘presumed lost off the Netherlands coast’, and the bodies of all seven crew members were later recovered from the sea.  In addition to Pilot Officer John Stanley Smyth the other six crew members who died that night were:

  • Flying Officer John Stuart Cole (aged 23) from Wembley, Middlesex
  • Sergeant Leslie Alfred Taylor (aged 32) from Cardiff
  • Pilot Officer Charles Edwin Parkin (aged 28)
  • Sergeant Frederick Arthur James Edwards (aged 29) from Watchet, Somerset
  • Pilot Officer John Sarginson (aged 23) from Marske, Yorkshire
  • Sergeant George Clark Thompson (aged 32) from West Hampstead, London

Pilot Officer John Stanley Smyth (No. 139301) was 29 when he died and he was buried in Castricum Protestant Churchyard, Noord-Holland, Netherlands.  There is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:




Pilot Officer John Stanley Smyth (No. 139301) is commemorated on Bangor and District War Memorial; in Hamilton Road Presbyterian Church, Bangor; in Bangor Grammar School and on the family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery.

His father John died in 1923, his mother Sarah died in 1962 and his brother Karl died in 1983; Karl’s ashes were scattered on the waters of Donaghadee Sound.