Another Australian Spitfire Pilot found in France.

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by spidge, Oct 20, 2011.

  1. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Wreckage of RAAF Spitfire from WWII unearthed in French village | The Australian

    AMATEUR aviation historians have unearthed the wreckage of a Royal Australian Air Force Spitfire that crashed in northern France during World War II and the skeletal remains of its pilot. The wreckage of the plane, which was shot down in action and crashed in May 1942 near the village of Hardifort, was dug up from beneath five metres of soil, local officials said.
    The fighter was in pieces but the bones of its pilot - identified by tags as W.J. Smith of the RAAF, service number 400942 - were recovered.
    Officials from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), which manages war cemeteries for citizens of British Commonwealth nations who died during World War I and II, have taken charge of the pilot's remains for eventual burial.
    According to the CWGC website, William James Smith was a sergeant with 457 squadron of the RAAF.
    Aged 24, he was the son of Samuel William and Freda Constance Adelaide Smith of Whittlesea, Victoria, Australia.


    SMITH, WILLIAM JAMES
    Sergeant
    400942
    457sq
    9/05/1942
    24
    Royal Australian Air Force
    Australian
    Panel 113. RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL UK Surrey
     
    Deacs likes this.
  2. Deacs

    Deacs Well i am from Cumbria. Patron

    Excellent news Geoff thanks for letting us no.
     
  3. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    thank you Geoff
    Panel from Runnymede
     

    Attached Files:

  4. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Sgt Smith's records are not digitised (yet) and I do not have the normal loss details.


    SMITH William James - (Sergeant); Service Number - 400942; File type - Casualty - Repatriation; Aircraft - Spitfire VB BM180; Place - Coast of France; Date - 9 May 1942
     
  5. jonheyworth

    jonheyworth Senior Member

    very close to the Gloster's bunker north of Cassel
     
  6. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Would anyone know which is the nearest, suitable CWGC cemetery to the crash site?
     
  7. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    I have been advised that this photo is the Mk9 aircraft of Henry Lacy Smith found last year not a MK5.

    A photo of the Spitfire.

    Smith_William James Spitfire found..jpg
     
  8. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    BM180 Vb CBAF M45 9MU 22-3-42 457S 30-4-42 Missing presumed shot down by Bf109s nr Calais 9-5-42 Sgt W J Smith killed
    production page 026
     
  9. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    A photo of the Spitfire.

    View attachment 65473

    That's a remarkable piece of archaeology. The crash recoveries I've seen and read about usually turn up a few mangled bits of wreckage that are barely recognisable. It's great to see something that is in such relatively good nick.
     
  10. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Amazing so much has survived - thanks Geoff.
     
  11. wreckdetective

    wreckdetective Junior Member

    That photograph is not the one recovered, that is a mk9 which was fetch out of the river back last year.
     
  12. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Would anyone know which is the nearest, suitable CWGC cemetery to the crash site?

    Do not know the distance however there are eight WW2 RAAF lads at Longuenesse (St Omer) Cemetery.

    Longueness Souvenir Cemetery.jpg

    Hazebrouck is close in the south and there are (2) Australians (1) AFC & (1) RFC there from WW1

    Hazebrouck Com Cem.JPG
     
  13. MooreK

    MooreK Junior Member

    Hello Spidge
    I have only learnt yesterday about finding my Uncle Bill near Hardifort,North of France. This will give some closure to his younger brother Bert. We will be attending his service when it is organised.
    Bill was,according to his older sister, my mother,a gentleman who was able to memoriise the latest hits on the the radio by only listening to them once.
    Regards
    Keith
     
  14. sebfrench76

    sebfrench76 Senior Member

    Heuuu...Do you mean this hero was your Uncle??
     
  15. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    That photograph is not the one recovered, that is a mk9 which was fetch out of the river back last year.

    My apologies. Thanks for the correct info.

    I was given to believe that this was the new find.

    This photo is the one taken back to the Australian War Memorial.

    I saw the one last year for Henry Lacy Smith but did not think it was that intact.

    Cheers

    Geoff
     
  16. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Hello Spidge
    I have only learnt yesterday about finding my Uncle Bill near Hardifort,North of France. This will give some closure to his younger brother Bert. We will be attending his service when it is organised.
    Bill was,according to his older sister, my mother,a gentleman who was able to memoriise the latest hits on the the radio by only listening to them once.
    Regards
    Keith

    Hi Keith,

    That is great news - Glad you found us here.

    I noticed he was born in Kalgoorlie however he enlisted in Melbourne and presumably lived in Whittlesea which is not far from me.

    Whittlesea residents will be glad to see that one of theirs will now have a headstone which I am sure you will post a copy here after the funeral.

    I visited the grave of Henry Lacy Smith in May who was found last year and buried at Ranville War Cemetery on the 19th of April.

    Hopefully you will post a bit about the life of William here as many will be interested.

    Cheers

    Geoff
     
  17. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Geoff,

    Sgt Smith was lost on an afternoon sortie,Circus 160 and it would appear that on the day,Luftwaffe JG 26 was prominent in the area.They took a heavy toll of Circus 168 (Hazebrouck railway yards).This may have been a morning sortie.

    No 457 Squadron lost another Spitfire Vb (Sgt R A G Halliday RAAF) during the Circus 160 engagement with JG 26.
     
    James S likes this.
  18. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Geoff,

    Sgt Smith was lost on an afternoon sortie,Circus 160 and it would appear that on the day,Luftwaffe JG 26 was prominent in the area.They took a heavy toll of Circus 168 (Hazebrouck railway yards). This may have been a morning sortie.

    No 457 Squadron lost another Spitfire Vb (Sgt R A G Halliday RAAF) during the Circus 160 engagement with JG 26.

    Great info Harry.

    Halliday is buried at Aylesham Cemetery in Kent.

    As I said in a previous post, two Aussies AFC, RFC were buried at Hazebrouck in WW1. Seeing the proximity, I wonder whether they would bury him there?

    Cheers

    Geoff
     
  19. carpi

    carpi Junior Member

    Hi,
    i'm happy to join you on this subject.
    I'm living near cassel, and i'm a french man . So, I beg your pardon to my language.
    Cassel is a town at one mile on the south of Hardifort where the spitfire was found.
    The weckrage is 500 m on the south to the bunker.

    I have these informations date 09 May 1942
    german pilot Josef Haibock
    unit 1./JG 26
    plane Spitfire
    altitude 5000m
    hour 13:40
    localisation 2km N Cassel


    The nearest cemetery is Cassel cemetery. But, i think that the remains of the RAAF pilot (his identity is always not officialy confirmed) will be buried in Arneke cemetery where others pilots ww2 rest in peace.


    Carpi
     
  20. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Hello Carpi and welcome to the forum.

    No need to worry about any language difficulties after reading your post.

    Thanks for the information on the JG 26 Pilot. Where did you get that from?

    Regards

    Jonathan
     

Share This Page