Constance Babington Smith
Constance Babington Smith
|Born||15 October 1912|
|Died||31 July 2000|
Babington Smith was the daughter of the senior civil servant Sir Henry Babington Smith, a scion of the Babington family. Her mother, born Lady Elizabeth Bruce, was the daughter of the 9th Earl of Elgin, making Constance a granddaughter of a Viceroy of India and a great-great-granddaughter of the man who bought the Elgin Marbles. Constance came from a large family and was the seventh of nine children. Her father died in 1923, when she was ten. By then, her eldest brothers were already adults, whilst her youngest sister was just two years old.
Her knowledge of aircraft took her into the WAAF in the Second World War. She served with the Central Interpretation Unit (CIU) at RAF Medmenham, Buckinghamshire, reaching the rank of Flight Officer. Serving alongside was her brother, Bernard Babington Smith (1905-1993), who was also a photo interpreter (PI) at Medmenham. Another fellow PI present at Medmenham was Winston Churchill's daughter, Sarah Oliver.
In 1942 she made an uncredited appearance in the Air Ministry feature film Target for Tonight, along with her fellow Medmenham colleague, Sqn Ldr Peter Riddell.
In 1946, the United States awarded her the Legion of Merit.
Her war memoir Evidence in Camera was in 1957 the first comprehensive narrative of British photographic reconnaissance in the Second World War. Because it was published before the revelation of wartime code-breaking, this book may also have contained a measure of Cold War disinformation.
Her cousin was the writer Rose Macaulay, Babington Smith writing a biography of her published in 1972.
Babington Smith was a founder and director of the Mosquito Memorial Appeal Fund, now the de Havilland Museum Trust.
|Ancestors of Constance Babington Smith|
- Oxford dictionary of national biography. British Academy., Oxford University Press. (Online ed.). Oxford. ISBN 9780198614128. OCLC 56568095.CS1 maint: others (link)
- Toomey, Philippa (18 November 1978). "From hats and a secret war to the life and work of a poet laureate" (60462). The Times.
- "Constance Babington Smith (Obituary)". The Telegraph. 9 August 2000. Retrieved 13 December 2012.
- Babington Smtih, Constance (1957). Evidence in Camera: The Story of Photographic Intelligence in the Second World War. pp. 96–97. ISBN 0750936487.
- Downing, Taylor (2011). Spies in the Sky. Little Brown Hardbacks (A & C). pp. 121–122. ISBN 9781408702802.
- Babington Smtih, Constance (1957). Evidence in Camera: The Story of Photographic Intelligence in the Second World War. p. 64. ISBN 0750936487.
- Downing, Taylor (2011). Spies in the Sky. Little Brown Hardbacks (A & C). pp. 294–297. ISBN 9781408702802.
- Van der Vat, Dan (12 August 2000). "Obituary: Constance Babington Smith". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 December 2012.