A Poppy
A Poppy

Memorials & Monuments
on the Isle of Wight
- Biography -
- Harold Emmett Broadsmith -

Old Rydeian Harold Broadsmith Name : Harold Emmett Broadsmith

Son of : Harold Edgar Broadsmith and Florence Broadsmith (née Beeton) of The Boulders, Binstead, Isle of Wight.

Born : 1918 (*). (Place of birth unknown)

Educated at : Ryde School.

(*) The family travelled frequently between the United Kingdom and Australia. Harold Emmett Broadsmith is recorded as aged 11 months in September 1919 in the passenger list of the 'Euripides' from Devonport to Australia.

  Electoral roll information :

1935 - 38 : Harold Edgar and Florence Broadsmith are listed at Red House, Old Road, East Cowes.

  Service Details :

Flight Lieutenant 40205 Harold Emmett Broadsmith, Royal Air Force

Casualty Details :

Died : 6 June 1941, aged 22.

Commemorated at : Alamein Memorial, Egypt.

CWGC Record
  Commemorated on these Memorials :

Ryde School War Memorial
  Photo Gallery :

Old Rydeian Harold Broadsmith
Flt/Lt Harold Broadsmith, RAF
Photo courtesy of Ryde School
  Documents and Newspaper cuttings :

The following is an extract from the unofficial history (a work in progress) of 148 Sqn, (operating Vickers Wellington aircraft) by Oliver Clutton-Brock :

Benghazi was the target on 5/6 June 1941 for nine aircraft, but 777618 Sgt K.F.D. Attwell's aircraft, "P", failed to start. Seven of the other eight returned safely, but T2981 (F/L Harold Emmett Broadsmith (40205)) was seen to come down on the sea. A fix of their position was taken and a destroyer and a Sunderland were warned. The tragedy that followed was recorded in the Squadron Diary :
6 June: The dinghy was located by the Sunderland, and supplies were dropped. The destroyer was on its way to the scene, and 'everything seems to be alright.'
7 June: 'Aircraft detailed to locate F/O Broad-Smith [1] failed - negative result also by destroyer. Sunderland again despatched with no result.'
8 June: 'Still no news of F/O Broad-Smith. Dinghy should have washed ashore at 13.00 hours yesterday. Squadron personnel very dissatisfied at not being allowed to organize search.'
10 June: 'P/O Lodge conducted a search from Alexandria to Mersa Matruh with a view to finding Flying Officer Broad-Smith and crew with nil results.'
11 June: 'Strong letter written to R.A.F. Station Kabrit, asking for full investigation into loss of F/O Broad-Smith and crew.'
The rest of the crew, all of whom were lost, were: P/O Peter Lane (82743); 581200 F/S Harry Alfred Bliss; 651060 F/S Robert Thomas Fisher; 701519 Sgt Arnold Whitworth; and 745245 Sgt Samuel James Millar.
The Squadron diary noted on 14 July that Sergeants Bliss and Fisher had been 'promoted to the rank of Temporary Flight Sergeant w.e.f. 1/4/41 and 1/5/41 respectively.'
All are commemorated on the Alamein Memorial except for Peter Lane, whose name is on the Malta Memorial. He was one of three brothers, all of whom perished during the Second World War in the RAF. John Graham Lane died on 16 April 1941 when his 252 Squadron Beaufighter, T3238 PN-S, was shot down by Oberleutnant Kriegl, III./ZG76, in his Bf110 off the coast of Norway. F/L Anthony Winter Lane died on a training flight on the night of 29/30 January 1943 when Wellington R1011, 28 OTU, crashed on Birchen Bank Moss, Derbyshire, during a "Bullseye" exercise.

[1] Note the Squadron Diary spelling of Broad-Smith. Correct spelling is 'Broadsmith', without the hyphen.
[2] To add to the family's grief, the Lane brothers' sister, Helen Bell (née Lane), born 9 August 1920, was killed in suspicious circumstances - hit-and-run car accident - in Marin County, California, USA, on 24 June 1960. Her family believed it to have been murder.
  Acknowledgments :

Ryde School Archivist for the photograph of Harold Emmett Broadsmith.
Thanks to Oliver Clutton-Brock for allowing me to quote from his Squadron history.
  Links :

  Page status :
Page last updated : 10 August 2014 (added account by Oliver Clutton-Brock)


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