2ndLT Heber J.Smith Born Dec 23, 1918 - KIA Nov 26, 1943

PVT Heber J. Smith.2Lt Heber Joseph Smith was born December 23, 1918, to Willard R. and Florence Grant Smith of Salt Lake City, Utah.  Florence and Willard were the proud parents of 8 children (6 boys and 2 girls).  Heber’s siblings were Willard, Florence, Richard, Briant, Howard, Sarah Ellen, and Paul.
In Heber’s youth, he was a Boy Scout and through his industriousness and steadfastness, he became an Eagle Scout.  He later attended Brigham Young University (BYU) and the University of Utah (U of U).  He became engaged to be married to Marjorie Paulson, who visited him in Alamogordo NM, during his training.  Heber’s father sent flowers to Marjorie every year until his death, even after her marriage.  (Marjorie, reportedly, married a very fine man, moved to New Mexico and became the mother of 8 children.)
Heber was a devout member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS). He was the grandson of Heber J. Grant and Joseph F. Smith, former presidents of the LDS Church. The young men of the family served not only as military servicemen, but also performed their mission duties for their faith before and after the war. After 2 years at BYU, Heber served as a missionary in France in 1938 and was there at the outbreak of the war. He was recalled to complete his mission to the French people in Canada. Upon completion of his mission, he returned home to attend U of U. With one quarter left to graduate, he was called to serve in the Army Medical Corp.  Heber, by choice, transferred to the Air Corp in 1942 and was assigned to March Field CA.  He received further training at Garner Field, TX, and was commissioned as a 2Lt at Ellington Field TX, (now associated with NASA, Johnson Space Center). Heber completed his pilot training and was assigned as co-pilot of a B-24 Bomber in Alamogordo NM. He was then transferred to Topeka KS for assignment to a B-24H, named by the crew, “Gregory the Great”, for the bombadier’s baby son, and deployment to England. Heber was loved and respected by all who knew him, especially his crewmates. 
Those of his family serving in Germany had a great command of the German language.  Letter from Heber to his brother.Heber’s brother, Briant, served in General Eisenhower’s Forward Headquarters, serving as an interrogator and translator of captured documents and later was part of the team that translated the documents of surrender from English to German. 
Upon being notified about Heber, his father asked his family and friends of the family serving in Germany to investigate and search for information regarding the crew. He then communicated their responses to the pilot and the navigator’s families and maybe others. Heber’s sister, Florence Smith Jacobsen lives today in Salt Lake City and provided the following information to her niece, Annette Smith Hill, who was kind enough to share it with us.(This information is painful to read, and I seriously contemplated not sharing it with all of you because I believe that Heber’s father did not share it with the families as he did other information because he and Florence felt that they did not want the other families to endure the pain that this knowledge brought them. However, I decided to do so because much time has passed since this happened, and it is a historical report from one of our families that took much effort to obtain.) 
We can never know for sure what happened on that awful day, but this is what was reported to Heber’s niece, Annette Smith Hill, by her Aunt Florence, Heber’s sister:  
2ndLT Heber Smith.Letter from Brian to parents.“Following the war, the commanding officer visited my Grandparents, Willard R. and Florence Smith, the parents of Heber and told them what has been reported to me by my Aunt Florence in a phone conversation. Some of the details do not match the information that is given on either of the web sites that there is reference to by Philippe Vanderdonckt, but this is what I have been told and am reporting to you:
Heber was stationed in Alamogordo, New Mexico and was sent by further assignment to England.  He was part of a 12 plane mission to bomb the submarine construction plant in Bremen, Germany.  Heber and his crew of 10 others in a B24 were the second plane in a group of 12 planes to leave England on this mission. As they were flying out of England, the second plane could not keep up with the first plane, so they lowered themselves in the sky so that the other 11 planes could pass over them. They had to maintain silence. All 12 planes completed their mission by bombing this plant, but the last plane that held Heber and his crew had something wrong with the plane such that it could not keep up with the other 11 planes. So in order to avoid ground fire, they circled around as much as they could.  The 11 planes were able to return to England. Finally, as a last resort, they were able to put their plane down in a gully or canal, but the plane did land safely. The 6 service men were able to get out of the plane and were almost immediately shot to death by the German's that were on the ground. Then a German officer went to the farm house where the plane had landed and told him that there were American's that were dead and needed to be buried.  This farmer burned Grave of 2nd LT Heber J. Smith.their names on wooden frames of some sort, kept their identifying tags and buried their bodies until after the war. He then notified the war department of those that he had buried on his land."

Heber's brother, Briant, and a cousin, Kip Young, following the war went to Germany to search for Heber's body, and did find it and the war department was able to ship it home to Salt Lake City where he was buried on Monday June 13, 1949 in the Salt Lake City Cemetery. 

(*I know why Mrs Jacobsen is thinking 6 men, even though we know there were 11. All of my life, I heard that there were 6 found, including the co-pilot, but 5 were never found which included my brother, the pilot. My mother died knowing only that. But now we have Heber J. Smith escape photo.learned that beside the 6, German reports reflected that 1 washed up and 2 were burned beyond recognition at the time and were later identified by their teeth. But the pilot and the radioman, were never found – given this scenario, they were likely prisoners of war, taken for information.
2ndLT Heber J. Smith.We have other reports that verify some of this. There was at least one other visit – one to my mother – from a friend in the squadron who saw the plane was in trouble, lagging behind. He said they thought they had gotten a direct hit, but it was cloudy and they could not see them. A letter from a friend flying behind our crew also said that the plane was in trouble, they were lagging behind, but returned to formation. There was a visit by another family to the area where they went down, but the brother who visited the area cannot talk about it. However, he believes that they were trying to stay out of enemy fire by flying to Denmark for get help from the resistance. I have received the IDPF concerning the 2 who were not found which reflects an investigation done in 1950, 7 years later. It is mostly speculation and leads to more questions than answers. They ask questions of the local people who said they knew nothing. They would have said  nothing else because it would be a war crime. I am attaching the map of their route high above the N. Sea and down over Bremen, the route straight back to England, and where they were downed near the mouth of the Elbe River just South of Denmark.)  
If any of you have any information related to this report, please let Philippe and I know.

Annette Hill Smith send this note with some drawings made ​​by Heber:

"I have been going through some old stuff of my father that his father had saved and given to him.  I found a magazine called Slipstream from December 7, 1942 in Texas - Class of 43-D.  I am going to make a copy of it for my cousin to share with my family, and wanted to know if you would like a copy.  I don't know if the copies will be as good as the original, but I think that I recognize a name - Squadron Commander - F. M. Maupin from the correspondence that I have received about my Uncle Heber.  Heber is also listed as one of the illustrators within the magazine.  I will have to check with my Aunt Florence (Heber's older sister - turns 102 in April) if he was an artist like his mother.  I didn't know this, but the illustrations are really fun to look at."s

Magazine Slipstream Magazine Slipstream
Magazine Slipstream Magazine Slipstream

Thanks to Annette Smith Hill, Heber’s niece, a wonderful crew mate from Montana for her special effort. Through Annette’s efforts, we have received additional information from Heber’s nephew, Briant Smith.