The Wartime Memories Project - The Second World War

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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

Those who Served

Allied Forces - Browse by Surname.

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Axis Forces - Browse by Surname.

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George Ronald Bennett .     Royal Navy HMS Rosneath   from London)

I am trying to trace the deatils of my late father-in-law who servived at HMS Rosneath during World War 2. He was also on a ship in the Baltic Sea for part of this time and he worked in the boiler room or engine room of this vessel. Any information would be greatly appreciated as his grand-daughter is trying to piece together the history of her grandparents. Thank you

Sue Bennett

Pte. George William Bennett .     Australian Army   from Australia)

S B Flynn

Able Seaman. H. Bennett .     Royal Navy HMS Forfar

Able Seaman Bennett was one of those brought ashore after the sinking of HMS Forfar.

Pte. Harry Edward "Titch" Bennett .     British Army Oxford & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry   from Banbury)

I'm trying to find out about my Grandad Harry Bennett,as with most we got snippets. We know he was in the Oxford & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry which we were told by him the fastest regiment in the British army and he trained in Scotland. We also know for reasons unknown he went to Bermuda (where he saw his first banana) and travelled by train in USA up to Canada before getting on a ship to UK. He also met by a fluke his older brother being shipped out of a harbour(injured) as his unit landed. When he was asked what did you say to your brother, Harry replied "alright" had a fag and nothing else. We also have a snippet that they gave kids some chocolate in Germany as they looked starving.

If anyone could tell me what unit he was in or any other info I would be very grateful.

Scott Bedding

Pte. Jack Bennett .     British Army

S B Flynn

Assistant Steward James Bennett .     Naval Auxiliary Personnel HMS Forfar (d.2nd Dec 1940)

Cpl. James Oscar Bennett .     United States Marines   from Arkansas, USA)

S B Flynn

T/Sgt. James Peter Bennett .     United States Army 75 Ordnance Coy, Depot   from Pennsylvania, USA)

S B Flynn

Louis John Bennett .     British Army

Louis Bennett was born in Kingsbridge, Devon in 1912 and died in Lancaster. I do not know what regiment he served in but I know he became a senior NCO.

Louis at front marked with an arrow, 1945.

Chris Lordan

P/O N. J. Bennett .     102 Squadron

L/Cpl. Robert William Bennett MM & Bar..     British Army Long Range Desert Group   from Leister)

Robert Bennett was awarded a Military Medal while serving in the North African campaign for carrying messages over an unchecked minefield. He was awarded the Bar to his Military Medal for landing his HQ vehicle on D-Day, while under fire from mortars and machine guns. He managed to manoeuvre it over the beach and, when another communications vehicle failed to make it to sure, used the spare radio set to maintain communications for the whole of 30th Corps.

He served with the LRDG, Royal Signals, 30th Corps and several others, including helping the French resistance, being awarded two medals for it. He was dropped into France posing as a Major and a lieutenant, yet was never actually these ranks. I am currently attempting to find out more about him as part of my Extended Project Qualification for A-Level. If anyone knows any more information about my Great Grandfather, I would appreciate you getting in touch to discuss him.

Tom Tugulu

Ruby Bennett .     Womens Land Army   from Mirfield Yorkshire)

My mother served in the Land Army and was stationed in Settle Yorkshire. I would like any information about her and the camp at Settle as she died in 1956 when I was 6 years old.

Valerie Wilkinson

Ord. Seaman Sidney Walter Bennett .     Royal Navy HMS Prunella (d.21st Jun 1940)

Asst.Stores. T. J. Bennett .     Naval Auxiliary Personnel HMS Forfar

T.J.Bennett survived teh sinking of HMS Forfar, he had been a member of the ship's crew when she was a passengerliner and had remained with her under the T124x agreement.

LACW. Veronica F. "Candy" Bennett .     WAAF 24 OTU   from Rayners Lane, Mddx)

I arrived at 24 OTU, Honeybourne soon after D Day in June 1944. I soon found myself working on the engines of my favourite aircraft, Vickers Wellington Mk.II. along with two or three other WAAF Mechanics. We were not very well liked by the RAF mechs, I believe they were a bit jealous of the attention we received from the aircrew (the Brylcream boys). Once we and the other technical ground crew had completed their servicing of the engine and re-installed it in the aircraft, it was necessary to do a test run, then a test flight. On several occasions I went along on these test flights. As I was quite small and still very young, I took a lot of teasing from both the ground and aircrew, and many times they would pull some crazy stunt to try and scare me, but I actually enjoyed it and felt no fear. It was a dirty job, but someone had to do it.

I was at Honeybourne for the better part of a year and being the only Canadian female among so many Canadians I was invited to the shows and special events awarded the RCAF personnel. A few years ago I was living in Florida and attended a luncheon put on by The Evaders (airmen shot down who escaped capture), and was surprised to meet three former aircrew who had been stationed at Honeybourne. Also, on 1st April, 2014 I attended the 90th Anniversary of the RCAF at Government House here in Victoria with my husband, Wing Commander Ronald Butcher DFC.,and met up with a gentleman who had been stationed at Wellesbourne, the satellite to Honeybourne. It really is a small world after all.

IHave always wanted to find another WAAF aircraft engine mechanic, and if there is one reading this, I would love to hear from you.

I now live in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia,and enjoy a monthly re-union lunch with a few ex-WAAF. We each have a story to tell and mine is in my book "From WAIF to WAAF to WIFE" which I wrote in 2002.

Veronica Bennett

P.O. Walter Vincent Bennett .     Royal Navy H.M.S. Courageous   from Kingsbridge, Devon)

(d.17th Sep 1939)

Walter Bennett was born 1899 and became a regular in the Royal Navy serving during the latter stages of WWI.

Walter Bennett kneeling second from left.

He also served in WWII aboard HMS Courageous as a Petty Officer and was killed 17-09-1939 when the ship was sunk by a German submarine.

He had a brother, George b.1897, who also served in the Royal Navy during WWI and a sister Edith b.1900, who served in the Womans Army Auxillary Corps.

Chris Lordan

Sgt William Bennett .     RAF navigator 44 Sqd.

Bill Bennett

Sgt Bill Bennett was the navigator with Merrick Heath's crew, flying R for Robert PB417 with 44 Rhodesia Squadron based at RAF Splisby.

David Coutts

Sgt. William Bennett .     RAF(VR) 101 Sqd.   from Connah's Quay, Flintshire.)

(d.1st Sep 1943)

Dvr. William Millar Bennett .     British Army 52 Lowland Division Royal Army Service Corps   from Glasgow)

My Granddad, William Bennett was a Driver on trucks in the RASC. He joined the 52 Lowland Divisional RASC (TA) in September 1939 at the Yorkhill Parade Ground in Glasgow He was in North Africa for most of his time in the Army. He says he was part of the 8th Army. He was a truck driver who also boxed a bit but was not overly good. He was in Cairo, Tobruk and a few places in between.

His truck was hit by a bomb and he was badly injured. He says he only survived due to a couple of Irish guys from Dublin pulling him out of the wreckage. Danny O'Sullivan, Dave O'Gorman and Danny Kelly are the guys he has mentioned. He would love to hear from them or anybody who knew them. He wished he could have seen them since the war. He was medically discharged in 1943 after going through a number of hospitals. He and I would be very grateful if anybody could help us with information or photos of his unit or friends or get in touch if they knew him

Jamie Bennett

Gnr. William Bennett .     British Army Royal Artillery   from Hindley, Wigan)

My Dad, Bill Bennett was at Stalag 9C from 1939 to 1945.

Muriel Flitcroft

P/O R. J. Bennett. .     RAF 625 Sqn.

Trimmer Allan Bennie .     Naval Auxiliary Personnel HMS Forfar (d.2nd Dec 1940)

P/O George Harman Bennions .     Royal Air Force 41 Squadron

William Bennison .     British Army

After my grandfather, William Bennison died I was given his POW ID tag for Stalag 4B, No 250155. As so many of his generation did, he did not talk about the war at all. It was not "fit for ladies"!!! I am now trying to find out any information I can about what regiment he was in and any other information.

Toni Craig

Pte. Arthur George Benns .     British Army Royal Norfolk Regiment   from Great Yarmouth)

Does anyone remember my grandfather Arthur Benns? He was captured at Dunkirk in 1940 and spent some time in Stalag VIII-B.

Rose Benns

Cyril John Benny .     Royal Navy HMS Dorsetshire

My father, Jack Benny, served on HMS Dorsetshire from prior to the Bismarck action until she was sunk on April 5th 1942. He survived the sinking, with some assistance I believe as he was a non swimmer!

Nick Benny

PO. Cyril John Benny .     Royal Navy HMS Dorsetshire

My father, Cyril John "Jack" Benny, served on HMS Dorsetshire from sometime prior to the Bismark action until the sinking in April 1942, a non-swimmer he was assisted to some floating wreckage until rescued with the other survivors. I am not quite sure what happened next but he did spend a fair amount of 1942/43 in East Africa, Kenya/Mombasa before returning to England late 1943 or early 1944 to join the Ramilies in time to be involved with the shelling of northern France on D Day. He passed away on September 21st 1996, without ever telling his full story.

Nick Benny

Albert Edward "Bill" Benson .     Royal Navy HMS Formidable

Albert (aka Bill) Benson was my Uncle, he died before I was born. I believe he sailed aboard HMS Formidable in 1945 when it visited Sydney we have photos of Sydney Harbour and Wooloomooloo taken by him. My Mother says he changed his birth certificate to read 1924 (instead of 1926) so he could join the Navy and leave home. He must have visited Portsmouth, Aden, Colombo, Port Said and Suez, we have photos of all those places.

He then went to Palestine during the period 1946-1948 and served in the Palestine Police, his photo album includes pictures of all the Jewish blockade runners including 'Exodus'. He returned to the UK aboard 'Empress of Australia' in 1948, my father John Hogsden was also aboard the same ship returning to the UK after serving in the Palestine Police. Bill Benson then joined the Malay Police to fight the communists in Malaya during the uprising. He was shot in an ambush and was buried at Gods Little Acre cemetery in Batu Gajah in 1952.

Susan Hill

WO/1 Arthur James "Buzz" Benson DFM.     RAAF 10 OTU Coastal Command   from Inverell, Australia)

My Father, Arthur Benson is now 88 years old, and living in Australia. He was part of the Empire Air Training Scheme and was sent to Dauphin, Canada, completing his training at St. Eval in England, as a pilot.

On 14 June 1943, he was attached to 19 Group of Coastal Command and equipped wtih a twin-engined Whitley aircraft (10 OTU), was sent to help Coastal Command hunting submarines out over the Bay of Biscay. The crew consisted of Fellow Australian Sergeant R.L. 'Bob" Rennick (second pilot), Pilot Officer Tom J.L. Lee (navigator) RAF, F/O Alan Kingsley (Rear Gunner) RCAF, Sergeant George T Graves (Wireless Operator) RAF. They had seven trips in all and on what was to be their last trip with Coastal Command, spotted two German submarines. After shadowing the U-boats for two hours the crew was given the instructions to attack. As they commenced their descent, they were fired upon and the Whitley was hit in the port fuel tank. But by now they were well committed, so they continued with their attack, and sank one submarine, U 564. This submarine had already sank 33 Allied ships. With the loss of the hydraulics and fuel, and with the damaged engine about to stop, it was obvious that they were going to struggle to return to base. My Father successfully ditched the Whitley and the crew managed to evacuate into the dinghy, even though the dinghy had been damaged when the Whitley was fired upon. They had lost the dinghy pack, containing food and water, but still had 12 one-pint tins of water. The crew had carried a homing-pigeon on these trips and had managed to bring the cage into the dinghy. They attached a message to the bird's leg and attempted to launch it in the direction of base. After several attempts to get the bird to leave the dinghy it finally disappeared in the right direction. Unfortunately the pigeon did not make it back to base. Dad and his crew spent the next two days and three nights drifting on the Bay of Biscay. On the evening of the third day they were rescued by the crew of a French fishing boat. Unfortunately, the crew could not help them get back to England by boat or put them in contact with the Resistence as they were expected by the Germans to be back in their port by a certain time or there would be serious consequences for themselves and their families. The fishing boat returned to Morgat, a small fishing village south of Brest, and Dad and his crew were captured by the Germans. They were sent to Paris by train and then sent to Frankfurt for interrogation. After eight days in solitary confinement, the crew were separated and Dad, George and Tom were sent to Stalag Luft 6 at Hyderkrug in East Prussia. Tom and Alan were sent to Stalag Luft III. Dad has many stories of this time as a POW. He talks of the efficient Escape Committee and the several attempts that were made whilst he was in Stalag Luft 6. He also talks of the boredom, the theatre, the sport played to keep fit. He tells his grandchildren that he "played rugby for Australia" as there were many matches between the English and Australian and other Empire countries during this time.

On June 6 1944 Dad and his fellow POWs were moved to a camp near Thorne in Poland and then after about three months they were move Stalag 357, Fallingbostel in the north of Germany.

This is one part of Dad's story in Stalag 357, in his own words - "The need for firewood became so urgent on one occasion when were not able to go out into the forest, that Trevor Scales (fellow Australian who eventually escaped with Dad) decided that we would knock off some posts from the inner surround holding up the strands of barbed wire. Ten wires were attached to each post and had to be knocked off by detaching the staples that held them on. For the purpose I had managed to find a length of steel rood about half a metre in length. At this time the snow had thawed somewhat and we were able to walk around the inner surround for exercise. As we walked around we would have to keep an eye on the guards in the towers and those patrolling the outer fence. First we would test a post by pushing it. If it was loose in the ground we would then hit the wires and break the staples away. A night just before lights out, when it was dark we would go out and wait our chance when the searchlights were off, leave our hiding place behind the huts, make a swift dash to a loose post and whip it out of the ground, and dart back behind the huts again. Then it was a matter of dodging the guards and making it back to our hut without being seen. It worked well for us for a long time, and eventually the absence of posts in the fence must have became obvious to the guards. All the time we were working closer to the guard boxes in the corners of the lager. On our last venture we had to hide behind a hut near the guard box, and as the searchlight went off made a dash for a post. It was tighter in the ground than we thought it would be and took a lot of pulling out. However, we succeeded and with the post on our shoulders made a dash to safety of the hut. I was in front and Scales was sliding about a bit in the frost and ice. Just as rounded the corner of the hut, the searchlight came on and we were caught in the beam. I did a smart turn to the left and Trevor skated out in a large circle, but still hung on to the post. We did some quick dodging about amongst the huts before we made it back to our own hut. We hurled the post through an open window and dived in after it. All was not lost but we gave away knocking off the posts after that."

On 12 April 1945 the Air Force prinsoners in Stalag Luft 357 were told to be ready to march out of camp in two hours time - destination unknown - but it was obvious that the Allies were advancing. The first two nights they camped in the forest 'scrounging' food from the locals. During the march towards Elbe River a spitfire had flown low overhead whilst attacking a target nearby. My father, Trevor Scales and a young American lad by the name of Lloyd (Dad cannot remember his last name) decided it was dangerous to be on the march as to be escaping and were in danger of being 'strafed' by the Allies. Each morning a ration truck would arrive and the guards would be distracted, so Dad, Trevor and Lloyd used this opportunity to make their escape by running into the thick forest. They had noticed the previous day they had passed a camp of foreign 'slave workers' and went there to ask for help. They were reluctant to help but finally a group of Russian gave Trevor, Dad and Lloyd coats and hats to disguise themselves as well as some food. Trevor spoke some German and was able to ascertain that by following the railway track that they would arrive at Saltau 50 Kms away. They were stopped five times by German soldiers over the next couple of days but Trevor managed to convince these soldiers that they were civilian "arbiters" being sent to Saltau to work. Finally Dad and Trevor's luck ran out and they were captured once again, very close to the town of Saltau, by a German soldier that did not believe they were Russian. They were taken to the town of Saltau and put into the basement of a military barracks. An attack on the town started soon afterwards. The following morning the British tanks arrived. In my father's Words "Suddenly it was all over. German soldiers came into the barracks and threw their firearms into a room. They were ready to surrender. It was strange really, for they were no longer enemies, and we got into conversation with them. They wanted to know what it was like being a POW, and what they should take with them into a prison camp. They were just as apprehensive as we had been when re-captured a few hours before. Just frightened young men." After receiving food from the British, Dad, Trevor and Lloyd were told to get a car and follow the White Star Line, which was a road cleared of debris and clearly marked by large white painted stars to an "aerodrome" from there they would fly to Brussels and then onto England. Dad had been a POW for one year and 10 months. My father's story has been written up in several books including - "War Gave Us Wings" - Col King "Search, Find and Kill" - Norman Franks Dad was awarded the DFM whilst he was a POW and later promoted to Warrant Officer. Footnote: ELMS is having its yearly reunion in York, England in April and my father will be traveling from Australia to be part of this event.

Sharon Benson

Cecil Benson .     Irish Guards

Held in Stalag VII B in Lamsdorf for several years and an actor by trade. My father did not speak too much about his experiences but told the more uplifting and funny stories. I am aware of the Gaeity Theatre and once saw a photo of him on line in the lead role in' Golden Boy'. The site with the photo has since disappeared.

Pip Lake-Benson

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