April 29, 1922 (Norwalk, CT) – September 23, 1943; 21 years old
Last local address: 144 Woodward Avenue, South Norwalk
Enlisted September 22, 1942
Service number: 11095646
96TH BOMBER GROUP (HEAVY), 413TH BOMBER SQUADRON
Missing In Action (at sea)
Awarded the Air Medal and Purple Heart Medal.
Norwalk High School Class of ’40
From The Norwalk Hour October 7, 1943
Staff Sergeant Robert M. Smith, 21, son of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen H. Smith of 144 Woodward Avenue received a telegram today announcing that their son has been missing in action overseas since September 23, just a year and a day after he enlisted in the U.S. Air Corps. Staff Sergeant Smith, a graduate of Norwalk High School, entered the Army at Fort Devens. He trained in many camps including Atlantic City, Florida, Utah, Colorado, Texas and Maine. He was home on furlough on August 1 and went overseas to England a short time later. He was a tailgunner on a Flying Fortress which is missing in action. Before joining the Army, he was employed in the Stamford Electric Specialty Company of this city. He has two brothers, Calvin and Harold.
A B-17 gunner who is credited with 10 KIA according to americanmuseum.com.
Aircraft Model B-17, Serial Number: #42-3318
Date Lost: 23-Sep-43
Target: Kerlin Bastard AB
Aircraft Name: SHACK RABBIT II
Location: English Channel
The 96th BG loses 1 ship on this mission to attack a Luftwaffe air base in Brittany, France. The ship and crew apparently went down somewhere in the English Channel. All were lost without a trace.
Crew of 42-3318
1st/Lt. Eugene Wilcox Jr. Pilot MIA/KIA
1st/Lt. Ralph F. Lewis Pilot MIA/KIA
2nd/Lt. William F. Mckenna MIA/KIA
T/Sgt. William T. Adams Engineer MIA/KIA
T/Sgt. William S. Lambson Radio Op. MIA/KIA
S/Sgt. Billy D. Bodiford Gunner MIA/KIA
S/Sgt. Henry M. Hentnik Gunner MIA/KIA
S/Sgt. Robert M. Smith Gunner MIA/KIA
Sgt. Thomas F. Stevens Gunner MIA/KIA
From 96th Bomb Group History
Memorialized at the Tablets of the Missing at Cambridge American Cemetery, Cambridge, England