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Wing Commander Charles Smelt RAF - Radfan Campaign

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Hey everyone,

I managed to pick up this interesting little group at a local antique market in Toronto this past weekend. It is a group to named to Wing Commander C.M.E.(sic) Smelt RAF (the Defence Medal is unnamed as issued, and the GSM with Radfan Clasp is named). It is paired with miniatures. This is a couple of  firsts for me - my first British GSM, my first RAF medals, and my first medals to an officer. Officers, thankfully, are much easier to research.

I'd be happy to learn how he earned his Defence Medal and of more details related to his service during the Radfan Campaign (role, unit, location, etc).

Here are some photos (click to enlarge):





What I have so far: 

Charles Michael Casterton Smelt was born around 1923. Son of Captain William Anthony Casterton Smelt O.B.E., a first war pilot of the Royal Naval Air Service, Royal Air Force and late Captain of the Essex Regiment. While Charles was growing up, his father William served in high level financial positions with the British North Borneo Company in British Borneo. During the Second World War, Charles attended medical school at the University of Edinburgh, and qualified for the Defence Medal. His father William, interned by the Japanese Occupation of British Borneo, survived and was awarded the Order of the British Empire for services during internment. 

Charles Smelt graduated in 1946 with a Bachelor in Medicine (M.B.). Smelt was granted an emergency commission into the Royal Army Medical Corps, and on 26 May 1949, was made a Lieutenant on a short service commission. On 8 May 1950 Smelt was promoted Captain. Smelt retired on 28 July 1953, but remained on strength of the Regular Army Reserve of Officers. On 25 Sept 1954, Smelt was appointed to the Royal Air Force Medical Branch, and made a Flight Lieutenant. Smelt by now was also a Bachelor of Surgery (Ch.B.). Smelt was again promoted on 5 July 1955 to Squadron Leader. Seven years later, Smelt, now alson a Doctor of Public Health (D.P.H.) was promoted to Wing Commander on 5 July 1962. In 1964, Smelt served in the Radfan Campaign and the beginning of the Aden Emergency.

Upon leaving the military in the late 70's, Smelt emigrated to Ontario, Canada, where he became a staff doctor in the Emergency Department of the Cornwall General Hospital. Smelt also worked as a Civilian Medical Officer in the Canadian Forces and as a physician for a company named Modern Industries. Smelt died in 1999.


From to the London Gazette:

Appointments to Short Service Commissions. R.A.M.C. From Emerg. Commn. to be Lts: C.M.C. Smelt, M.B. 26 May 1949. - L.G. 1949.06.09 Extract from the RAMC Journal.

Royal Army Medical Corps. Promotions. To be Capts. (Short Serv. Commns.): Lt. CMC Smelt M.B. 8 May 1950. - L.G. Extract from the RAMC Journal.

Royal Army Medical Corps. Short Service Commission. Capt. CMC SMELT, M.B (402282), retires with a gratuity, 28th July 1953. - L.G.4114 1953.07.28

Royal Army Medical Corps. Regular Army Reserve of Officers. Capt. CMC SMELT, M.B. (402282), ceases to belong to Reg. Army Res. of Offrs., 25th Sept 1954, on appt. to RAF (Medical Branch). - L.G. 696 1955.02.04

Royal Air Force. Medical Branch. Notification amended. 14th Dec 194 (p. 7063, col 2) concerning Charles Michael Casterton SMELT, M.B., Ch. B. (503951) for (Seniority 1st May 1948) read (seniority 5th Apr 1948). - L.G. 1533 1955.03.15

Royal Air Force. Medical Branch. Promotion. Flight Lieutenant to Squadron Leader. CMC SMELT, M.B., Ch.B. (503951). 5th July 1955.  - L.G. 4114 1955.07.26

Royal Air Force. Medical Branch. Appointment to commission (Permanent). As Squadron Leader: - Charles Michael Casteron SMELT, M.B, Ch. B. (503951) 5th Apr 1957. - L.G. 3170 1957.05.28

Royal Air Force. Medical Branch. Promotion. Squadron Leader to Wing Commander. CMC SMELT, M.B., Ch.B. (503951). 5th July 1962. - L.G. 5478 1962.07.10

Royal Air Force. Medical Branch. The seniority of Wing Commander C.M.C. SMELT, M.B, Ch.B., D.P.H. (503951), is adjusted to 1st Apr 1962. - L.G. 8809 1962.11.13


And the below information is from the "Deaths" section of the Canadian Medical Association Journal dated 22 February 2000:


Smelt, Charles M., Cornwall, Ont.; University of Edinburgh (Scotland), 1946; DPH; Royal Air Force; former staff, Emergency Department, Cornwall General Hospital; civilian medical officer, Canadian Forces; physician, Modern Industries. Died Sept. 23, 1999, aged 76. His obituary, quoting an earlier interview, explained his reasons for moving to Canada: "After retiring from the air force at age 55, I was facing a life of genteel poverty and I thought, 'To heck with that.'"



Edited by SemperParatus

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I imagine the same. Does anyone know of a medal roll or other way to see which organization he belonged to? Were students of the University of Edinburgh known for any specific civil defence/aid organization?

Does anyone have an orbat for RADFORCE or know of a way I could determine which unit Smelt was posted to in Aden?

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