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The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

SHEILA K. SMITH PAPERS

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BIOABSTRACT

Sheila K. Rathbone Smith (b. 1924) of Oxford, England, served as a barrage balloon operator with the British Women's Royal Air Force during World War II.


BIOGRAPHY

Sheila Katharina Rathbone Smith was born in England on 31 August 1924 to a British father and a German mother. She grew up in Hampstead and London, England, and attended high school in Oxford. Smith joined the British Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1942 and served as a barrage balloon operator in London and Newcastle for three years. She then worked in transportation, organizing the movement of British troops and prisoners of war in England. She was discharged in 1946 with the rank of leading aircraft woman (LACW).

Smith modeled after the war, most notably for fashion designer Hardy Amies. She married in 1951 and relocated to the United States.


CONTENTS AVAILABLE ONLINE:
Item
Two Royal Air Force servicewomen hold down balloon, circa 1943
Item # WV0317.6.003
From the Sheila K. Smith Papers
Royal Air Force servicewomen pull balloon, circa 1943
Item # WV0317.6.004
From the Sheila K. Smith Papers
Two Women's Royal Air Force servicewomen, circa 1943
Item # WV0317.6.006
From the Sheila K. Smith Papers
Portrait of Sheila K. Smith, circa 1943
Item # WV0317.6.001
From the Sheila K. Smith Papers
Royal Air Force servicewomen inflate balloon, circa 1943
Item # WV0317.6.002
From the Sheila K. Smith Papers
RAF barrage balloons, circa 1943
Item # WV0317.6.005
From the Sheila K. Smith Papers
Oral history interview with Sheila K. Smith, 2005
Item # WV0317.5.001
From the Sheila K. Smith Papers