Another Australian Spitfire Pilot found in France.

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

  1. Mark Smith

    Mark Smith Junior Member

    Having returned to Australia from France, and the interment of my uncle Bill at Cassel, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Andy Saunders and all the team involved in the discovery of Bill's plane and his remains. In some ways they are the forgotten people of this whole incredible story. My family were very pleased to have had the opportunity to meet them at the ceremony - we will never forget the contribution they have made to our family history - especially the closure they have been able to provide for Bert, Bill's brother, who has finally learned the true fate of his brother after 70 years. Without the dedication and persistence of Andy's team, Bert would have gone to his grave never knowing what became of his brother. Anybody who has had the opportunity to view Bert's eulogy online would be left in no doubt about the impact it has had on him and on our family. We have been deeply moved by the respect and friendship offered to us throughout the last few months - no more so than by the people of Cassel, who now hold a special place in our hearts. They have provided a place for future generations of our family to visit, to feel welcomed and to honour Bill's sacrifice.
    It was also a pleasure to finally meet the whole crew involved in the recovery, to sit down and share their stories about the discovery and its aftermath. They have achieved something quite remarkable. Best wishes to all. Mark Smith
  2. spidge


    So glad for Bert and the family and glad we could all be part of it!


  3. CL1

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

    Mark thank you for the update and thank you to all involved.

  4. spidge


    For those who missed it, the documentary will be repeated in the full series run of "War Digs With Harry Harris".

    Hi Andy,

    Any networks picking up the series/or this episode in Australia?


  5. Recce_Mitch

    Recce_Mitch Very Senior Member

    From The West Australian 20th April 2012


    Attached Files:

  6. Andy Saunders

    Andy Saunders Senior Member

    Hi Mark

    It was a privilege and an honour to have been there at the burial of your Uncle Bill, and a humbling and poignant achievement to have found him. I will never forget the moment of finding his identity disc, cleaning it off and reading his name and number. Then, finding the entry of his name and personal details listed with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. In that moment, we were the first to know that Bill was no longer missing. Had we not gone looking for the "Parker Pen" Spitfire, Bill would still be missing - although, in fact, we had known about that site for seven years without realising the connection to Bill, of course.

    It really was a supreme honour to have been involved with this discovery, and in all the historical work I have done across almost forty years this is the single most satisfying and rewarding achievement.

    It means so much to know what this means to Bert and the family, and it was an absolute delight to meet Bert and shake his hand; the warmth of his thank you will live with me always.

    Mark, I will also e-mail you privately.

  7. jonheyworth

    jonheyworth Senior Member

    Once Again,

    sincere congratulations Andy, I've driven past there 100 times or more and there is no way a lad who came so many 1000's of miles to die in such a good cause should have not been recovered for his, and his family's sake
  8. Andy Saunders

    Andy Saunders Senior Member

    Remembering Sgt William James Smith, RAAF, lost in action exactly 70 years ago.

    9th May 1942 - 9th May 2012

    Attached Files:

  9. clive_t

    clive_t Member

    Sorry for arriving late here, but I've only just caught up with this thread, having watched a recording of that particular show a couple of weeks ago.

    A thoroughly absorbing thread, and what an amazing story this was! A great result for the surviving relatives, a brilliant piece of work all round - well done to all involved.


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