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Southbourne author of 633 Squadron series dies
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.
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