Constance Babington Smith
Constance Babington Smith MBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

 Legion of Merit
Legion of Merit
The Legion of Merit is a military decoration of the United States armed forces that is awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements...

 FRSL (15 October 1912 – 31 July 2000) was a journalist and writer.

Babington Smith was the daughter of the senior Civil Servant Henry Babington Smith
Henry Babington Smith
Sir Henry Babington Smith GBE CH KCB CSI was a senior British civil servant.Smith was born in Jordanhill, the son of the lawyer and mathematician Archibald Smith. His brothers were James Parker Smith, later an MP, and Arthur Hamilton Smith, later Keeper of Greek and Roman Antiquities at the...

. She was educated at home at Chinthurst, England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 and in France, before moving to London in adult life. She worked for the milliner Aage Thasrup and also Vogue magazine
Vogue (magazine)
Vogue is a fashion and lifestyle magazine that is published monthly in 18 national and one regional edition by Condé Nast.-History:In 1892 Arthur Turnure founded Vogue as a weekly publication in the United States. When he died in 1909, Condé Montrose Nast picked up the magazine and slowly began...

 in London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, before venturing into journalism, with The Aeroplane magazine.

Her knowledge of aircraft took her into the WAAF
WAAF may refer to:*Women's Auxiliary Air Force, a British military service in World War II**Waaf, a member of the service*WAAF , a radio station licensed to Westborough, Massachusetts, United States...

 in the Second World War, where she served with the Allied Photographic Intelligence Unit at Medmenham
RAF Medmenham
RAF Medmenham was a Royal Air Force station based at Danesfield House near Medmenham, in Buckinghamshire, England.Activities there specialized in photographic intelligence, and it was once the home of the RAF Intelligence Branch...

, reaching the rank of Flight Officer
Flight officer
The title flight officer was a military rank used by the United States Armed Forces where it was an air force warrant officer rank. It was also an air force rank in several Commonwealth nations where it was used for female officers and was equivalent to the rank of flight lieutenant...

. Serving alongside was her brother, Bernard Babington Smith, who was also a photo interpreter (PI) at Medmenham, whilst another fellow PI present at Medmenham was Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

's daughter, Sarah Oliver
Sarah Churchill (actress)
Sarah Millicent Hermione Tuchet-Jesson, Baroness Audley, usually known as Sarah Churchill , was a British actress and dancer.- Early life :...


In 1942 she made an uncredited appearance in the Air Ministry feature film Target for Tonight
Target for Tonight
Target for Tonight is a 1941 British documentary film billed as being filmed by and acted by the Royal Air Force, all while under fire. It was directed by Harry Watt. The film revolves for the most part around one crew in a single Wellington aircraft...

, along with her fellow Medmenham colleague, Sqn Ldr Peter Riddell.

Working on the interpretation of aerial reconnaissance
Aerial reconnaissance
Aerial reconnaissance is reconnaissance that is conducted using unmanned aerial vehicles or reconnaissance aircraft. Their roles are to collect imagery intelligence, signals intelligence and measurement and signature intelligence...

 photographs, Constance was credited with the discovery of the V1
V1 can refer to:* V-1 , a World War II German weapon* V.1, a telephone communications standard of the ITU-T* Area V1 of the visual cortex* Ophthalmic nerve , the first division of the trigeminal nerve...

 at Peenemunde
Peenemünde Airfield
Peenemünde Airfield is an airfield along the Baltic Sea north of Peenemünde, Germany. Today round trips in light aircraft take place from Peenemünde Airfield. Bus tours are also available, on which one can visit the former shelters of the NVA and the remnants of the of the V-1 flying bomb...

, Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...


She was portrayed in the 1965 film Operation Crossbow
Operation Crossbow (film)
Operation Crossbow is a British 1965 spy thriller and World War II film, made from a story from Duilio Coletti and Vittoriano Petrilli and filmed at MGM-British Studios...

 by Sylvia Syms
Sylvia Syms
Sylvia M. L. Syms OBE is a British actress. She is probably best known for her roles in the films Woman in a Dressing Gown , Ice-Cold in Alex , No Trees in the Street , Victim and The Tamarind Seed...


After VE-Day Constance was attached to USAAF Intelligence in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 to continue her work on photographic interpretation, this time in the Pacific theatre.

From 1946 to 1950 she was a researcher for Life Magazine. She later moved to Cambridge
The city of Cambridge is a university town and the administrative centre of the county of Cambridgeshire, England. It lies in East Anglia about north of London. Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology centre known as Silicon Fen – a play on Silicon Valley and the fens surrounding the...

, England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, where she converted to Greek Orthodoxy and become a writer and biographer. Her war memoir Evidence in Camera was in 1957 the first comprehensive narrative of British photographic reconnaissance in the Second World War. (Because 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
Rose Macaulay
Dame Emilie Rose Macaulay, DBE was an English writer. She published thirty-five books, mostly novels but also biographies and travel writing....

, Babington Smith writing a biography of her published in 1972.

Babington Smith was a founder director of the Mosquito
De Havilland Mosquito
The de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito was a British multi-role combat aircraft that served during the Second World War and the postwar era. It was known affectionately as the "Mossie" to its crews and was also nicknamed "The Wooden Wonder"...

Memorial Appeal Fund - now the de Havilland Museum Trust.
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