Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Frederick E. Smith (1919-2012)

Frederick E. Smith, best-known as the author of 633 Squadron and its sequels, died on Tuesday, 15 May 2012, aged 93 following a heart attack.

Born in Hull, Frederick Escreet Smith began writing in the late 1940s following his marriage and a move to South Africa; he began publishing short stories in London Mystery Magazine and elsewhere, his first novel appearing in 1953. He was not a genre writer, his forty novels covering everything from romance, historical fiction, thrillers, both world wars and even TV and movie novelisations.

It is a little known fact that Smith also wrote briefly for comics. When I asked him about this in 2008, he said: "I did some work  for Fleetway House way back in the sixties when I was trying to make a living from novel writing. My editor there was Ken Mennell [who] asked me to do a picture strip novelette of the original 633 Squadron and afterwards I did some war themed scripts for him, although for the life of me I can't think of their names. One I do remember, however, was about an air ace called Paddy Payne. It was, if I remember correctly, featured in colour on the front page of a comic."

Paddy Payne, Warrior of the Skies, appeared on the cover of Lion between 1957 and 1964, although I was unable to work out precisely which stories Smith had penned, although it was likely to have been around 1962/63. He also wrote a couple of full-length stories for Battle Picture Library in 1963-64.

Obituaries: The Guardian (28 May 2012).

Below is the 633 Squadron cover gallery I originally published back on 21 June 2011.

633 Squadron (London, Hutchinson, 1956)
Arrow, 1958, 2/-. Cover by Ed Blandford
Corgi GB1535, 1964. Cover: film still
----, [2nd imp.] 1964, [3rd imp.] 1964, [4th imp.] 1965, [5th imp.] 1966, [6th imp.] 1966, [7th imp.] 1967, [8th imp.] 1967, [9th imp.] 1968, [10th imp.] 1969, [11th imp.] 1969.
Corgi 08169-8 [12th imp.], 1971, 222pp, 5/-. Cover by Brian Lewis?
---- [13th imp.] 1972, [14th imp.] 1972, [15th imp.] 1973, [16th imp.] 1973, [17th imp.] 1975, 40p.
Cassell 36621-8, 2003. Cover: photo

Operation Rhine Maiden (London, Cassell, 1975)
Corgi 10155-9, 1976, 266pp, 75p. Cover by Brian Lewis?

Operation Crucible (London, Cassell, 1977)
Corgi 10741-7, 1978, 207pp, 80p. Cover by Brian Lewis

Operation Valkyrie (London, Cassell, 1978)
Corgi 11075-2, 1979, 255pp, 95p.

Operation Cobra
Corgi 11824-9, 1981.

Operation Titan (Severn House, 1982)
Corgi 12046-4, 1982, 239pp, £1.50.

(* Photograph at top of column is from here, where it appears with no copyright information.)

1 comment:

  1. Steve Flanagan21 Jun 2011, 11:43:00

    What a shame that the sequels weren't called 634 Squadron, 635 Squadron, 636 Squadron ...



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