Pilot Officer John Stewart Madill Smith - 434 Squadron  

P/O John S.M. Smith- (DFC) - RCAF

John was born in Neemuch, India on November 7, 1917. His parents were Canadian missionaries for the United Church. He was schooled in Neemuch and in the Himalayas until coming to Canada at age 12 to complete his education.

John remained in Canada when his parents returned to serve again in India, living with his grandmother, other relatives, or at the boarding school for the children of Canadian missionaries.

When John graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 1941 he was hired as a personnel officer by the Canadian Carborundum Company in Niagara Falls. He then enlisted in the Canadian army and subsequently applied to the Royal Canadian Air Force. He became a navigator and served in England and Scotland in 434 Squadron. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1944, his citation reads:

"This officer has completed a tour consisting of thirty-six operations.  He has at all times displayed exceptional navigational ability.  His quiet, cheerful manner and devotion to duty have contributed greatly to the success of this crew."  

The other men in John's 434 squadron crew were:

F/Sgt K. MacDonald

Sgt J. Bray

Sgt C. Eady

Sgt E. Natsuk

F/Sgt F. Terrio

Sgt L. Garding


John Smith (L) with his Pilot, Ken MacDonald


 At warís end he returned to Canada and worked as an RCAF Liaison Officer in Niagara Falls assisting returning veterans in the transition to civilian work. Immediately upon returning from overseas, John had met Lois Dickens, from Toronto, his future wife, while he was briefly working at Manning Depot before being assigned the Liaison Officer duties. They met at a Masonic Temple dance in late September 1945. In fact, John had previously met Loisís brother Brian, another Air Force veteran, at Manning Depot before meeting Lois at the dance.

 John left the service and returned to work for Canadian Carborundum Company in Niagara Falls, but during his absence, the company had hired another personnel officer, and upon Johnís return they retained both. Not happy with this arrangement and wanting to get to Toronto, in 1946 he resigned and was hired as a personnel officer at Square D Electrical Company in Weston, an area of Toronto.

 John married Lois in December 1947. He continued with Square D until re-enlisting into the RCAF in 1952 and being posted to Summerside, Prince Edward Island. Lois remained with her brother and his wife in Ottawa until six weeks before their first child, Kim was due, then moved to Summerside where he was born. 14 months later, daughter Heather was born.

 The family was then posted to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in 1956, where John served until leaving the Air Force in 1958. The family moved to Kelowna, B.C. and subsequently to Victoria in 1961.

 John eventually had a career with the federal government in Customs and Excise Canada, becoming Deputy Ships Registrar. He served in this capacity until his retirement in 1982. He passed away on May 10, 1996 in Victoria and was survived by his wife of 48 years, his son and daughter and their families.


  Photos courtesy of Kim and Debi Smith, research by Linda Ibrom.