Sergeant Crichton Alexander Smith

Pilot, Sergeant Crichton Alexander Smith, RAFVR 1368806 died on 10 March 1942 at RAF 61 Operational Training Unit (OTU), RAF Heston, Middlesex, England.

On 8 March 1942, in a Miles M.9A Master Mk.I T8504 taking off from RAF Heston, the aircraft swung 90% and crashed into four parked aircraft on the apron and burst into flames. Crichton died from injuries sustained two days later, 10 March 1942.

Ground crew, Aircraftman (AC1) F. Waller was injured and de Havilland DH.87 Hornet Moth X9446 G-AFEC which was hit was written off.

Crichton Alexander Smith aged 21, was the eldest son of Mr and Mrs George Smith, ‘Dyalla’, Balmoral Road, Blairgowrie. Crichton attended Blairgowrie High School and worked at the Blairgowrie branch of the Union Bank before volunteering for the RAF in December 1940. He was a keen sportsman, cricket, golf, football, ice hockey and swimming, as well as angling. As a member of Blairgowrie Golf Club, he won the Druidesmere Cup in 1939.

Crichton gained quick promotion and was recommended for a commission a short time before his death. Sergeant Crichton Alexander Smith is buried in Blairgowrie Cemetery.


61 OTU was formed in June 1941 at RAF Heston to train single-seat fighter pilots. Supermarine Spitfires were allocated to the station.

61 Operational Training Unit (OTU) was formed at RAF Heston in June 1941 and moved to RAF Rednal in April 1942 and RAF Keevil in June 1945.

Hornet Moth X9446 G-AFEC was owned before being pressed into RAF service on 10 May 1940, by Captain Hugh Sale Ford, of Farrington, Berkshire.

Research by Ken Bruce

Perthshire Advertiser 14 March 1942
ROYAL AIR FORCE AIRCRAFT (CH 6455) Spitfire F Mk.2 about to touch down at 61 OTU Rednal, Shropshire. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:
ROYAL AIR FORCE 1939-1945: FIGHTER COMMAND (CH 4209) Air Marshal Sir William Sholto Douglas, C-in-C Fighter Command, with Flight Lieutenant Brian Kingcome during a visit to No 61 OTU at Heston, November 1941. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:
BRITISH MILITARY AIRCRAFT : MILES MASTER I (CH 144) Original wartime caption: The Miles Master I, a two-seater low-wing cantilever monoplane, which is the most advanced and fastest training aircraft in service use throughout the world. Powered by one Rolls Royce Kestrel XXX engine developing 714 h.p. she attains a maximum speed of 300 m.p.h. at sea level. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:
MILES MASTER instrument panel. (CH 1203) Original wartime caption: [See CH.1204 annotated copy] Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:
KEY TO ANNOTATION OF MILES MASTER I : Instrument Panel. CH.1203. (CH 1204) Original wartime caption: 1. Flaps position indicator 2. Airspeed indicator correction card 3. Speaking tube connection 4. Reflector sight lamp socket 5. Reflector dimmer switch 6. Cockpit lamps dimmer switch [port]. 7. Undercarriage position indicator 8. Instrument flying hood release 9. Engine revolution indicator 10. Cockpit lamps dimmer switch [starboard] 11. Signalling switch box 12. Main mag… Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: