On 9th July 1943, aged 21, Horace Smith became a casualty during Operation Ladbroke, a glider mission intended to start the Allied invasion of Sicily. It was almost exactly two months after his brother’s death in North Africa.
Horace was aboard Glider no. 70, one of almost 150 gliders being towed to Sicily.
Like so many others, glider 70 didn’t make it, being released too far from land it crashed into the sea and Horace was one of six from the glider listed as missing.
Details of his final moments can be found here:
After being in the sea for about half an hour, we heard three people crying for help. Two of the voices were recognised as Pte. Smith’s and Pte. Kennedy’s. We shouted and flashed a torch but they were unable to reach us owing to the roughness of the sea. They continued to cry for help, but then we heard a choking noise, and the cries ceased.
Having no known grave, Horace’s name is listed on the Cassino Memorial at the Cassino War Cemetery in Italy.
This is part of my militaria collection related to Horace. His photo. A beret of the type he is wearing in he photo, complete with RAMC cap badge. Five service medals (I assume) he would have been awarded. (1939-45 Star, Africa Star, Italy Star*, Defence medal, War Medal 1939-45)
A photo of the type of glider that took him to his death. A small map of the glider route. RAMC collar badge. A small copy of the Commonwealth War Graves document at the top of this post. I also have a plastic model of the glider waiting to be assembled.
The medals on the right and the small badge leaning against the glider photo aren’t related to Horace.
*I included the Italy Star among Horace’s medals, but it’s possible he wouldn’t have been awarded this one considering he lost his life on the way to the Sicily campaign and never made it to Italian territory. It’s something I can only confirm by obtaining his military service record.
I have now found that Horace arrived in Africa a month too late to have been eligible for the Africa Star. I’ve now moved the medal (seen in the photo) to another part of the cabinet with a few items related to Albert, Horace’s younger brother.