World War II - U. S. Air Force
Francis Charles Smedley
January 1923 - May 1, 1944
Charles Smedley was a B-17 bomber pilot
in the Air Force.
He was awarded the
B-17 Flying Fortress
Francis Smedley named his aircraft
after his mother's favorite song.
(1944 news article and photo researched and contributed by: Dean Schaal from his mother's wartime scrapbook)
News Article 1944
1st Lt. Francis Smedley
Special in Press-Gazette
OCONTO FALLS, Wis - Mrs. C. W. Smedley, Oconto Falls, has received the Purple Heart award for her son 1st Lt. Francis C. Smedley of the Army Air corps, whose plane was badly damaged by anti-air-craft fire over a target in France on May 1, 1944, according to information received by the young pilot's mother, all the crew but one parachuted and the damaged plane headed toward Burssels, Belgium.
Although nothing further has been received, the government has listed Lt. Smedley as killed in action on that date. Where the plane landed, when or what happened to the pilot of the B-17 bomber is still a mystery. He had completed going to England before Christmas. He participated in the first daylight raid over Berlin and was rated as one of the top-notch fliers of the A.A.F. He reach his 21st birthday anniversary Jan. 19.
The citation, accompanied by a certificate signed by President Roosevelt, said in part - "...the president of the United States.....has awarded the 'Purple Heart' to 1st Lt. Francis C. Smedley for military merit and wounds received in action resulting in his death May 1, 1944.