09
Jul
17

In Memory of Another Cousin (Who I Never Got to Know)


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:
http://www.operation-ladbroke.com/waco-glider-70-disaster-border-medics-operation-ladbroke-sicily/

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.

___________________________________

Previous post about Horace

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.

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3 Responses to “In Memory of Another Cousin (Who I Never Got to Know)”


  1. July 10, 2017 at 8:26 am

    I forgot to update this blog entry before it was posted – Horace would not have been awarded the Africa Star. I’ve recently found that eligibility for the medal ended when hostilities in North Africa ended on May 12th 1943.

    Horace arrived in North Africa some time in June.

  2. 2 Marleen
    July 10, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    It’s good that you remember him this way. Cousins are quite significant. My mom’s twin’s daughters are like my sisiters (of which I have not one). And my male cousins on my dad’s side were a comfort to see (looking so much like my dad), and to hug, when we were at my dad’s funeral recently.

    It’s also important to internalize some realities of war, as we can in any measure.
    Otherwise, it can seem so distant and almost fictional.

  3. July 10, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    I finally decided to go ahead and apply for the military service records of Horace and his brother Albert.
    I have to send the request to a British government dept., along with the required application fee in British pounds. Unfortunately they’ll only accept payment by cheque (in pounds) so I have to get an international bank draft (for each record). I tried to get them last Friday and spent an hour in the bank waiting. For some reason they couldn’t process the transaction, so they said they’d try again after the weekend. I’ve just heard back from them and they’re still having problems.

    The records should provide quite a lot of information I didn’t know, as well as confirming some of my suspicions (such as the cause of Albert’s fatal wounds). The records will include details of the campaign medal entitlement of the two brothers. I have medals of the type they should have been awarded, and after confirmation I’ll possibly get them mounted in the relevant sets.


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