7 April 1917 : 2nd Lieut. George Orme Smart

George Smart was born 17 August 1886, Southport, Lancashire

Location of Southport, Lancashire in the north west of England (cc OpenStreetMap)

His parents were Arthur Smart (a cotton waste manufacturer) and Edith (née Orm (a bunting and flag manufacturer). 

At the 1891 Census, age 4 he was at home with his parents, four siblings, a nursery maid and cook.

Yarlet School

At the 1901 Census, age 14, George was a Yarlet, a private boarding school north of Stafford - a feeder prep. School for Uppingham. 

At the 1911 Census, age 24, like his father and brothers, George was working in the bunting and flag manufacturing business. 

Great Britain, Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificates, 1910-1950 from Ancestry

In 1915 he joined the RFC as a Private, working as an air mechanic. He subsequently learned to fly at his own expense before gaining Royal Aero Club Certificate No 3707. He was posted to No 60 Sqdn in France as a Sergeant Pilot. George was later commissioned in the field.

The Red Baron was the most famous pilot of the Great War. On 7 April 1917 he shot down his 37th victim.

Early Nieuport 17 at Le Bourget on 18 July 1916 making demonstration flight for British delegation

A section of Nieuports from No 60 Sqn left Filscamp Farm aerodrome before 5pm on a 'Special Mission' to photograph German positions south of Arras after normal reconnaissance aircraft had failed to get by the German defences. 2/Lt Smart was flying Nieuport 17 when he was shot down by Manfred von Richthofen of Jasta 11 flying an Albatros DIII; it was the 37th of von Richthofen's eventual 80 victories.

George Smart's aircraft fell on the British side of the lines at map reference 53M7d where he was buried. Unfortunately, his grave was soon lost due to heavy shellfire and it could not be found when 2/Lt Smart's brother, Capt Charles Smart, then serving with No 16 Squadron, looked for it ten days later.

Arras Flying Services Memorial

2/Lt Smart is commemorated on the Arras Flying Services Memorial.

7 April 1917

Contributed by David Tattersfield, Development Trustee.


Census Returns for England 1891, 1901 and 1911. 

Gareth Morgan, President of Australian Society of World War 1 Historians

George Orme Smart was a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps. He kept a diary during his time at the Front and labelled each page alphabetically, the first page starting with the letter "A". He was killed by the German ace Baron Manfred von Richthofen on 7 April 1917 - ‘Z’ day.