Smith, Francis Craig (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 14620
Production date
Subject period
  • whole: Duration 150, Number Of Items 5
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview


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Object description

British civilian member of Auxiliary Fire Service in Sunderland, GB, 1940-1943; engineering apprentice in Sunderland, GB, 1943-1945; officer served with 7, 20, 1 and 16 Bomb Disposal Sqdns, Royal Engineers in GB, 1947-1951; served with 28th Field Engineer Regt, Royal Engineers, 1st Commonwealth Div in Korea, 1952-1953

Content description

REEL 1 Background in Sunderland, 1924-1940: family; education; memories of evacuation of his school to Askrigg, 1939- 1940. Recollections of period as member of Auxiliary Fire Service in Sunderland area, 1940-1943: duties as messenger and junior fireman; reaction to service in blitz; attending bomb incidents in Sunderland; attending fire at Binns Department Store; oil fire at Jarrow; fire in paper mill at Hendon Dock; German Air Force targets; public morale; degree of fear; dealing with fire at Manor's Good Station in Newcastle. REEL 2 Continues: efficiency of Sunderland Fire Service; attitude towards German Air Force. Aspects of period as engineering apprentice in Sunderland, 1943-1945: sandwich course arrangements; apprentice marine engineering work at John Dickinson and Sons Ltd; apprentices strike, 1943; minor industrial disputes; OTC training at Sunderland College, 1943-1944. Recollections of period as officer with 7, 20, 1 and 16 Bomb Disposal Sqdns, Royal Engineers in GB, 1947-1951: background to enlistment and commissioning in Royal Engineers, 1946-1947; posting to 7 Bomb Disposal Sqdn in Bristol area, 1947; watching unexploded bomb being dealt with at Avonmouth, 4/7/1947; use of German POWs on bomb disposal work. REEL 3 Continues: dealing with bomb in sand at Washingpool Lane, Avonmouth; amusing alcoholic encounter with farmer; question of how people could be fooled into thinking a bomb had exploded when it had not; dealing with unexploded bomb in Prince Street Labour Exchange in Bristol. Recollections of period as officer with 20, 1 and 16 Bomb Disposal Sqdns in GB, 1948-1951: transfer to East Bolden; looking for bomb in River Tyne; German use of clockwork and anti- disturbance fuses; merging of squadron with 1 Bomb Disposal Sqdn then 16 Bomb Disposal Sqdn and his added responsibilities; problems of using heavy equipment at Hutton Cranswick; work at Sunderland Farm, Roos, c1949. REEL 4 Continues: dealing with Type C Parachute Mine in dredger in Victoria Dock, Hull, 1949; story of NCO who may have committed suicide using bomb at Elwick; dealing with unexploded bomb at Billingham; evacuation of Haverigg with discovery of 1000 Kg bomb; dealing with unexploded bomb with jammed fuse at Little Bytham near Grantham; mine clearance duties on beaches. REEL 5 Continues: problems with dealing with corroded anti-tank mines; dealing with live minefield at Mundesley near Cromer. Recollections of period as officer with 28th Field Engineerr Regt, Royal Engineers, 1st Commowealth Div in Korea, 1952-1953: background to posting to Korea, 12/1952; voyage from GB to Korea and reaction to arrival at Pusan; attachment to US combat engineer unit in Seoul; character of Russian and Chinese fuses; wounding during handling of Russian detonator; hospitalisation for wounds in Kure, Japan; damage he did to his skin grafts during yachting mishap; role as liaison officer with 28th Commonwealth Division; attachment to Armistice Commission demarcating line separating Communist and United Nations forces.

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