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W. G. G. Duncan Smith
Royal Air Force- Italy, the Balkans and South-east Europe, 1942-1945. CNA1757.jpg
Wilfred Duncan-Smith, Wing Commander Flying, No. 244 Wing RAF, with "Bonzo", a bulldog mascot of one of the squadrons of the Wing in Italy during the Second World War
Birth name Wilfrid George Gerald Duncan Smith
Born 28 May 1914
Died 11 December 1996 (aged 82)
Allegiance Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Service/branch Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
Years of service 1936–1946
Rank Group Captain
Unit No. 611 Squadron RAF
Battles/wars World War II
Malayan Emergency
Awards Distinguished Service Order and Bar
Distinguished Flying Cross & Two Bars

Group Captain Wilfrid George Gerald Duncan Smith, DSO* DFC** (28 May 1914–11 December 1996) was a British Royal Air Force Second World War flying ace.

Early lifeEdit

Duncan Smith was born in Madras, India on 28 May 1914, the son of an officer in the Indian civil service. He was educated in Scotland, where he joined his school's OTC. Returning to India in 1933, he became a coffee and tea planter, but in 1936 returned to the UK to join the RAF.

World War IIEdit

Serving at 7 OTU at the outbreak of war, he was posted to No. 611 Squadron RAF later that year. He was awarded a DFC in June 1941, and went to No. 603 Squadron RAF in August 1941 as a Flight Commander. Smith was due for a rest but had to remain operational, leading his squadron whilst bringing their new Squadron Leader up to speed. On 20 November he was taken ill, passing out after returning from a convoy patrol. Smith spent some time in hospital with double pneumonia, the symptoms of which he had assumed was only the result of being exhausted from such a long operational tour. Upon recovery in March 1942 he was promoted to Squadron Leader and given command of No. 64 Squadron RAF. In August he became Wing Commander, flying at RAF North Weald. In November he was rested from operations with a posting to take charge of the Tactics Branch at Fighter Command, his input leding to the formation of the Fighter Command School of Tactics at Charmy Down.

Whilst Smith's non-operational tour was recognised as very productive, he began to seek a return to operations, and he was then sent to the Mediterranean as Wing leader, 244 Wing, on Malta. In September 1943 after engine failure he bailed out into the sea, being rescued after 5 hours adrift. As a Group Captain, he then took charge of 324 Wing, finally leaving in March 1945.

Duncan Smith was credited with 17 confirmed kills, two shared kills, six probables, two shared probables and eight damaged in aerial combat. [1] He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and Bar and the Distinguished Flying Cross and two Bars in recognition of his bravery.

He was the author of Spitfire into Battle, published in 1981, a highly entertaining account of aerial combat in the Spitfire aircraft.

Post warEdit

In 1952 Duncan Smith received a second bar to his Distinguished Flying Cross for service in the Malayan Emergency.[2]

His wife, Pamela Summers(whom he married in 1946) was a ballerina who was born in Nanking, China where her father was a commissioner in the Chinese Postal Service. Her maternal grandmother was Ellen Oshey Matsumuro, a Japanese woman whose father was a Japanese artist. Their son Iain Duncan Smith is now a British politician, and was leader of the Conservative Party from September 2001 to November 2003.

Iain Duncan Smith alleged in a BBC radio interview in 2001 that, while living in America in the 1950s, his father was "propositioned" by American actress Marilyn Monroe.[3]


  • Price, Dr. Alfred. Spitfire Mark V Aces 1941 - 1945. London: Osprey Publishing, 1997. ISBN 978-1-85532-635-4.
  • Price, Dr. Alfred. Spitfire Mark I/II Aces 1939 - 41. London: Osprey Publishing, 1996. ISBN 978-1-85532-627-9


  1. Price 1997, p. 25.
  2. The London Gazette: no. 39634. p. 4587. 29 September 1952. Retrieved 16 March 2009.
  3. "Tory chief's desert island discs". BBC. 25 November 2002. Retrieved 6 May 2008. 

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