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Benjamin Roxburgh-Smith 10 April 1884 – 1952 (aged 67 or 68) Nickname Dad Place of birth Lee, London Allegiance United Kingdom Service/branch British Army  Royal Air Force Rank Flight Lieutenant Unit Inns of Court Regiment Royal Flying Corps No. 60 Squadron No. 74 Squadron Awards Distinguished Flying Cross & Bar, Belgian Croix de guerre Other work Aviation pioneer in southern Africa Benjamin Roxburgh-Smith DFC & Bar (1884–1952) was a World War I fighter ace credited with 22 victories. After the war, he pioneered aviation in southern Africa. He also served in World War II. Contents 1 Early life and service 2 Combat duty 3 African aviation pioneer 4 World War II service 5 Honours and awards 6 Notes 7 References Early life and service Roxburgh-Smith was born in Lee, London on 10 April 1884.[1] By the time World War I broke out he was working as a bank teller in Bromley, then still in Surrey.[1][2] Though a married man with two children, and old enough to be nicknamed "Dad", he initially joined up as a private in the Inns of Court Regiment, which was then functioning as a officer cadet unit.[1][3] Private Roxburgh-Smith was appointed a Temporary Second Lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps on 12 August 1916.[4] It was at about this time he passed through pilot training and was forwarded to No. 60 Squadron RAF.[2] In 1917, he was injured in the crash of a Nieuport Scout. Upon his return to service, he was assigned to flight instruction duty.[1] Combat duty He was posted to combat duty with No. 74 Squadron RAF to fly RAF SE.5as in early 1918. He flew in Mick Mannock's A Flight. In his time, he was also appointed a Flight Commander.[1][2] He destroyed his first enemy Albatros D.V on 12 April 1918, in conjunction with Mannock and three other pilots. By May 26th, he was an ace, destroying his fifth consecutive enemy fighter plane. After scoring his eighth victory on 19 July, he was shot down, suffering minor injuries in the process.[1] He rallied, and shot down four German planes in both August and September, and five in October. On 5 October, he shot a double, and on 14 October, he shot a triple, rounding out his score at 22.[1] His final count was 14 opposing fighters destroyed (2 shared with other pilots); four fighters driven down out of control; three two-seater reconnaissance planes destroyed (one shared with George Hicks); one recon plane driven down out of control.[1] "Dad" Roxburgh-Smith was third ace out of seventeen in 74 Squadron to Mick Mannock and Taffy Jones.[5] African aviation pioneer Roxburgh-Smith emigrated to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1920. He farmed for several years near the capital of Bulawayo. While he was farming, civil aviation sturggled to establish itself in the country. In September, 1926, he sold the farm and returned to England. Once there, he brushed up on his flying skills and obtained a private pilot's license.[6] Upon his return to Zimbabwe in June 1927, he accepted a job flying as second pilot on an aerial survey for the Aircraft Operating Company. To garner the job, he qualified as the first South African commercial pilot at Roberts Heights, Pretoria. He was employed on the survey through February, 1928.[6] Once again, he moved to England, only to return to Zimbabwe in February 1929. This time, he had the backing of Cobham/Blackburn Air Lines, which was dedicated to establishing civil aviation routes the length of Africa, from Cairo, Egypt to Cape Town, South Africa. With this backing, he was able to raise enough local financial aid to start the Rhodesian Aviation Syndicate, which was eventually absorbed into Imperial Airways.[6] Roxburgh-Smith resigned from the new company in May 1931, with the aim of working for Glen Kidston. The latter was independently wealthy, and wanted in on South African aviation. Kidston's death in an air crash on 5 May scotched that plan, so Roxburgh-Smith returned to England on 1 June.[6] World War II service Roxburgh-Smith returned to service in World War II, receiving an emergency appointment on 1 March 1940 as a Pilot Officer, at the advanced age of 55.[7] He was subsequently promoted to Flight Lieutenant on 20 September 1940.[8] Honours and awards Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) Lieut. (T./Capt.) Benjamin Roxburgh- Smith. This officer has shot down six enemy aeroplanes during the last few months. Bold in attack, skilful in defence, he is a valuable airman."[9] Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) Bar Lt (A./Capt.) Benjamin Roxburgh-Smith, D.F.C., (FRANCE) A leader of outstanding merit whose influence has had a great effect on maintaining the morale of his squadron. He has engaged in many combats with hostile aeroplanes, displaying marked skill and courage. Since May last he has accounted for twelve hostile machines.[10][11] Benjamin Roxburgh-Smith was also awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre on 20 February 1919.[12][13] Notes ^ a b c d e f g h "Benjamin Roxburgh-Smith". The Aerodrome. Retrieved 2009-09-03.  ^ a b c British and Empire Aces of World War I. p. 86.  ^ "WW1 Campaign Medals—Image details—Medal card of Smith, Benjamin Roxburgh". DocumentsOnline. The National Archives. Retrieved 4 September 2009.  ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29722. p. 8383, 22 August 1916. Retrieved 2009-09-03. ^ "74 Squadron—Royal Flying Corps of World War I". The Aerodrome. Retrieved 2009-09-03.  ^ a b c d McAdam, J. "RANA—Birth of an Airline: Establishment of Rhodesian and Nyasaland Airways". Rhodesian Aviation. Richard Allport. Retrieved 2009-09-03.  ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36230. p. 4822, 29 October 1943. Retrieved 2009-09-03. ^ London Gazette: no. 34949. p. 5588, 20 September 1940. Retrieved 2009-09-03. ^ "Flight Global Archive: November 7, 1918". Flight Global. Retrieved 2009-09-03.  ^ "Flight Global Archive: February 13, 1919". Flight Global. Retrieved 2009-09-03.  ^ London Gazette: no. 31170. p. 2033, 7 February 1919. Retrieved 2009-09-03. ^ "Flight Global Archive: February 20, 1919". Flight Global. Retrieved 2009-09-03.  ^ London Gazette: no. 31170. p. 2051, 7 February 1919. Retrieved 2009-09-03. References Shores, Christopher (2001). British and Empire aces of World War I. Osprey Aircraft of the Aces # 45. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 9781841763774.  Persondata Name Roxburgh-Smith, Benjamin Alternative names Short description Date of birth 10 April 1884 Place of birth Lee, London Date of death 1952 Place of death