Southbourne author of 633 Squadron series dies

Bournemouth Echo: Frederick E Smith Frederick E Smith

AWARD-winning novelist Frederick E Smith, who lived in Southbourne, has died of a heart attack, aged 93.

The prolific author, best known for his 633 Squadron series, moved to Bournemouth from his native Hull more than 50 years ago. He produced a steady stream of popular novels, which have been published in dozens of countries around the world.

He spent his early days in the RAF and some of his novels are partly based on his own “bizarre” experiences, including surviving a black mamba bite and dangling out of an aircraft without a parachute at 6,000ft by a thin air caught around his ankle.

After marrying his wife Shelagh, he went out to Africa where he was struck by an irresistible desire to write. For four years he dedicated five evenings a week to learning the craft and he became a full-time writer after returning to England.

Since then he has written more than 40 novels, including 10 in the successful 633 Squadron series. He sold film rights to nine of his novels and had two major films made, including 633 Squadron that broke box office records.

He also published the first volume of his autobiography A Youthful Absurdity, which covered the first 26 years of his life and told of his experiences in the Second World War and time spent in South Africa.

He was honoured to receive the American Mark Twain Literary Award for his First World War drama A Killing For The Hawks but he didn’t rest on his laurels and carried on writing as well as giving talks and lectures at venues up and down the country. He also wrote a non-fiction piece of work Write a Successful Novel, which was praised by the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain.

He died on Tuesday, May 15.

Comments (6)

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11:52am Fri 18 May 12

wallydown says...

I have often picked him up in my taxi didnt realise who he was.really nice guy
RIP . Echo any funeral details please?
I have often picked him up in my taxi didnt realise who he was.really nice guy RIP . Echo any funeral details please? wallydown
  • Score: 0

12:06am Sat 19 May 12

sussexcherry says...

wallydown wrote:
I have often picked him up in my taxi didnt realise who he was.really nice guy
RIP . Echo any funeral details please?
I agree Wallydown, he used to drink in my local many years ago, a charming gentleman. I asked him once about the 633 squadron film, he said he had written many a better book but that was the one they filmed! He was annoyed that they picked that one, but as he said, "it keeps me in beer"! RIP Fred, I always think of that chat when I watch 633.
[quote][p][bold]wallydown[/bold] wrote: I have often picked him up in my taxi didnt realise who he was.really nice guy RIP . Echo any funeral details please?[/p][/quote]I agree Wallydown, he used to drink in my local many years ago, a charming gentleman. I asked him once about the 633 squadron film, he said he had written many a better book but that was the one they filmed! He was annoyed that they picked that one, but as he said, "it keeps me in beer"! RIP Fred, I always think of that chat when I watch 633. sussexcherry
  • Score: 0

2:45pm Mon 21 May 12

Mary H says...

Fred was not only charming, but an inspiration to many would-be writers. He will be sadly missed by the writing community.
Fred was not only charming, but an inspiration to many would-be writers. He will be sadly missed by the writing community. Mary H
  • Score: 0

3:09am Sun 27 May 12

R.D.Deaton says...

This is a shock to me. I cannot say how sad I am to hear of Frederick's passing. We first communicated regarding 633 SQUADRON way back in 1965, and his ensuing kindness was a marvelous and underlying influence that helped to shape my career. In the last two years, we had been corresponding again, and I was still hoping to find an agent for him here in the USA. I am incredibly saddened by finding this news today. Personally, I would love to hear from any of his friends and family at
rddea633@gmail.com. My sincere condolences to one and all who knew this fine gentleman. My life has been enriched by his works and his friendship.
This is a shock to me. I cannot say how sad I am to hear of Frederick's passing. We first communicated regarding 633 SQUADRON way back in 1965, and his ensuing kindness was a marvelous and underlying influence that helped to shape my career. In the last two years, we had been corresponding again, and I was still hoping to find an agent for him here in the USA. I am incredibly saddened by finding this news today. Personally, I would love to hear from any of his friends and family at rddea633@gmail.com. My sincere condolences to one and all who knew this fine gentleman. My life has been enriched by his works and his friendship. R.D.Deaton
  • Score: 0

1:00pm Thu 7 Jun 12

DarrenSharpe says...

A remarkable, articulate man with a unique imagination and such ability to tell/recount a story like no other. Every conversation we had was a pleasure. Be at peace with Shelagh. Enjoy your writing and watching the cricket and tennis from the sky. In our memories, meg, cady, calleigh and i
A remarkable, articulate man with a unique imagination and such ability to tell/recount a story like no other. Every conversation we had was a pleasure. Be at peace with Shelagh. Enjoy your writing and watching the cricket and tennis from the sky. In our memories, meg, cady, calleigh and i DarrenSharpe
  • Score: 0

5:46pm Thu 7 Jun 12

PeteHengist says...

The Funeral will be held at Bournemouth Crematorium at 3:15pm on Friday 8th June.
The Funeral will be held at Bournemouth Crematorium at 3:15pm on Friday 8th June. PeteHengist
  • Score: 0

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