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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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19.07.1945 No. 1675 HCU Liberator VI EV817 Lt. Smit

Operation: Training flight

Date: 19th July 1945 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 1675 H.C.U. (Heavy Conversion Unit)

Type: Liberator VI

Serial: EV817

Base: RAF Abu Sueir, Egypt

Location: RAF Abu Sueir airfield, Egypt

Pilot: Lt. P. Smit 207230V SAAF Age 21. Killed

Pilot 2: Lt. Eric Frederick Houseman 581301V SAAF Age ? Killed

Air/Bmr: P/O. John Bennett Handy 193177 RAFVR Age 21. Killed (1)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Thomas Benjamin Bishop 1876580 RAFVR Age 20. Killed


Aircraft climbed to a height of 500 ft. immediately after taking off. It then began to lose height, before climbing again.

What followed was the aircraft then made a steep diving turn to port, from which it crashed and then destroyed by fire.

The cause of the erratic flying was not positively determined but may have been a faulty artificial horizon or simply poor instrument flying. (Always easy to place the blame on pilot error!)


 (1) P/O. Hardy attended the Mosley Secondary/Grammar School and is mentioned on the School Memorial

Burial details:

Lt. P. Smit. Moascar War Cemetery. Grave 2. E. 15. Son of Izak T. Smit and Bermina F. Smit, of Oudtshoorn, Cape Province, South Africa.

Lt. Eric Frederick Houseman. Moascar War Cemetery. Grave 2. E. 11. Next of kin details not available - are you able to assist?

Sgt. Thomas Benjamin Bishop. Moascar War Cemetery. Grave 2. E. 9. Son of Thomas Francis and Frances Martha Bishop, of Rotherhithe, London, England.

P/O. John Bennett Handy. Moascar War Cemetery. Grave 2. E. 13. Killed. Son of Thomas Alfred and Descima Janet Handy, of Moseley, Birmingham, England.

Researched for the Moseley Secondary/Grammar school memorial records and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Colin Cummings - 'The Price Of Peace'. Commonwealth War Graves Commission. 

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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