VC's smile made men brave



VC's smile made men brave


A newspaper cutting about Captain Edwin Swales DFC. His aircraft was badly damaged but he ordered his crew to leave and he went down with his aircraft.

Spatial Coverage




One newspaper cutting


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V.C.'s smile made men brave

CAPTAIN . . . EDWIN SWALES, master bomber, "had only to smile at his crew and they were with him all the way." They were with him all the way when he won the D.F.C., announced on [missing letters]bruary 22; the following [missing letters]y they were with him all [missing letters]e way – until he ordered [missing letters]em to bale out – when he [missing letter]on the V.C., announced [missing letters]st night.

The colleague who spoke of [missing letters]ptain Swales's smile added: "He was worshipped by his [missing letters]ew."

It was his sacrifice for his crew that won the captain his V.C. "He [missing letter]id his duty to the last, giving his [missing letter]ife that his comrades might live," [missing letter]ays the London Gazette citation.

Captain Swales was 29, belonged [missing letter]o the South African Air Force, was a bank clerk in Durban before [missing letter]he war.

Engines crippled

On the night of February 23 he had the task of locating a target area at Pforzheim, near Stuttgart.

With two engines crippled and his plane almost defenceless he stayed over his target issuing instructions which made possible one of the most successful Bomber Command raids of the war.

When he was satisfied the attack had achieved its purpose he struggled in vain to bring his aircraft home.

When all his crew on his orders had jumped to safety his crippled plane plunged to earth and he was found dead at the controls.

This is the 137th V.C. to be awarded in this war and the second to go to a member of the South African military forces.

Swales was a prominent Rug[missing letters] footballer and played for South African Services in Bri[missing letters]

He was the only member [missing words] S.A.A.F. to fly with the Pat[missing letters] Force of Bomber Comma[missing letters]



“VC's smile made men brave,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 15, 2024,

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