Smith, H B

  • Name on memorial: Smith, H B
  • Memorial panel: Right
  • Full name: Harold Bernard Smith
  • Rank: Flying Officer
  • Service details: 108507, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
  • Age at death: 38
  • Date of death: 25/12/1942
  • Birth place: Banbury
  • Parents: M. Bernard and Bernice Smith, of Banbury
  • Mother's maiden name: unknown
  • Parents' marriage details: unknown
  • Wife: Kathleen Smith, of Banbury
  • Wife's maiden name: unknown
  • Marriage details: unknown
  • Additional information:
    Source: Banbury Guardian 15/02/01.

    A master draper who died serving his country is to be rembered among Banbury's war dead - almost 60 years later.

    Harold Smith is one of 42 forgotten war heroes who town mayor Elsie Milne wants added to an existing roll of homour in St Mary's Church, Horsefair.

    Mr Smith, of Bloxham Rd, Banbury, was a flying officer with the RAF and was sent to India in July 1942. He died aged 38 on Christmas Day that year after being taken ill ten days earlier.

    A wooden plaque in St Mary's Church lists 78 fallen war heroes. But Howard Cowie, of the Banbury branch of the British Legion, discovered 42 more

    Mr Smith's daughter Brenda Smith said: "My sister and I have always been aware that his name hasn't been in the church. I don't know whether it was the fact he was older, or what kind of system was used. I'll be delighted when his name is there. In a way you feel a little bit of Banbury history is being recorded."

    Miss Smith, now 70, was 12 years old when her father went overseas, never to return. She can remember answering the door to the telegram which told her mother Kathleen he was unwell.

    She said: "At no time had it crossed her mind he wouldn't come back. But people had to get themselves up, dust themselves off and that was the person she was - she was a fighter. As a result mother had to go out and get a job."

    Miss Smith and her sister Kay still live in the house where they grew up. Before he went to war Mr Smith had worked with his father as a master draper at N B Smith in Parsons Street, Banbury.

    He was a member of the town's auxiliary fire service and his daughters remember him being called to fight blazes caused by the Blitz. It was after a particularly horrific raid on Coventry in 1940 that Mr Smith decided to join up.

    Miss Smith said: "Father felt he could give more by volunteering to go into one of the services and volunteered the following year."

    Mr Smith became a pilot officer in the RAF where he worked as an equipment officer. He was stationed in India in July 1942 and his family never imagined he wouldn't return. He was made a flying officer on the day he died.

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