"My god Johnny, I shot down a British bomber that night"
After leaving the armed forces, Johnny Smythe trained as a barrister in London, returning to an eminent legal career in Freetown. He rose to become a Queen's Counsel and Attorney General of Sierra Leone.
Eddy: “We are obviously a culture rooted in slavery. The thing with the Krios is that they’re not indigenous Sierra Leoneans. Culturally, they never looked inwards to Sierra Leone, they looked out across the Atlantic to England. They were driven to achieve, to be the best, educationally and professionally- I think my father was in that camp.”
Despite his experiences in the war, Johnny Smythe harboured no bitterness towards the Germans, seeing them as soldiers who served their country, just the same as he did.
Eddy: “He had one fascinating meeting, years after the war, when he had a successful legal practice in Sierra Leone: he was at a cocktail party at the British ambassador’s residence in Freetown, where he ended up talking to the German ambassador about the war. When told about the date and place that Johnny was shot down, the ambassador turned pale: ‘My god Johnny, I got my first kill on that day, I shot down a British bomber.’ They put their arms around each other and were almost in tears.”