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Bennett, William

William Bennett was born circa 1923, the son of Cecil & Miriam J. Bennett who, I believe, married at St. Mary & St Helen’s Church in Neston in 1922 (Cheshire West CE37/3/201).

On the 1939 Register, Cecil and Miriam were living at 21 Richmond Road , Connah’s Quay U.D., Flintshire, Wales, but his brother, Cecil, who was born in 1923 is shown, but not William and with the 100 year rule, it makes me wonder if William was younger than is shown on official documents:-

Cecil       Bennett               born 08 Mar 1899             Male      Iron & Steel Gasman      Married

Miriam J Bennett  born 29 Oct 1902          Female Land Worker      Married

I entry Redacted   —  Is this William????

Cecil  Bennett      born 16 Oct 1923            Male      Labourer General            Single

Taken from “Find my Past” –

Why are some records in the 1939 Register officially closed?

Answer: – Individuals’ records remain closed for 100 years from their date of birth (100 year rule).  Records remain closed for people born less than 100 years ago until proof of death is verified.

So I do not have a definitive date for William’s birthday.

In 1901 William’s father, Cecil’s, family, was living at 32, Cestrian Street, Connah’s Quay, Cecil’s mother Margaret Bennett, age 38 was a widow and had been born in Liverpool, Lancashire.    Her children were Thomas J., 12, Alice M., William, 7 and 2 sets of twins, – Elizabeth and Joseph age 4 and Cecil and Harold, age 2.

According to the 1891 census Margaret’s husband and the father of her children was William Bennett, age 35, a General Labourer who had been born in Connah’s Quay.

Fast forward to the 1911 census and it seems that Margaret had married Fred Brooks, in a Civil Marriage (or Registrar Attended) in Chester in 1904. (Cheshire West ROC/47/134).

They were living in Margaret house at 32, Cestrian Street and a child had been born to them, Margaret Ann, who on this census was age 6, born like the other children in Connah’s Quay.   Head of the household, Fred Brooks, 32, tells us that he was an Ironworker in the Sheet Mills (Iron Works) been married 8 years and been born in Tipton, Staffs.  Margaret, 46 tells us that she had borne 8 children, but sadly one had died.   Margaret’s other children – all Bennett children- were William, 17, and an Ironworker in the Sheet Mills (Iron Works), Elizabeth, 14, Harold, 12 and Cecil, 12.    There was a Visitor, Joseph Whitehouse , Single age  27 and a  Shoe Maker.

So it seems that William was named after his Grandfather William Bennett, who had died so young.

I do not know when young William enlisted as he was in the RAF Volunteer Reserve, but he was to be part of Bomber Command, if he was in 101 Squadron:-

Extract taken from :- https://www.raf.mod.uk/organisation/101squadron.cfm

At the outbreak of World War II, the squadron was equipped with Blenheim IVs and was involved in attacks against enemy barge concentrations in the Channel Ports. In mid-1941, No. 101 Sqn became part of Bomber Command’s medium-bomber force with Wellingtons and flew many night sorties against Germany and Italy. These aircraft were replaced barely 18 months later by the Lancaster and became specialised in airborne radar jamming to disrupt German night-fighters interceptions.

I searched the Australian Archives as there was one Australian in the Crew, the Pilot Herbert George Edis, and thoiught that they may have found out what happened to the aircraft and the crew: –https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ListingReports/ItemsListing.aspx

The Australian Archives are essential for researchers as they are so complete, and gave wonderful copies of the service records of Herbert George EDIS, who was the pilot on the fateful flight of JB150, these help you realise that the authorities tried for many years to find out about the fate of the aircraft and crew, but to no avail, it also mentions William twice when they list the crew.   I have copies of much of the letter to Herbert G. EDIS’s family, if anyone wants to see them.   I know that they are not William’s records but they shine a light on what went on when aircrews went missing.

Up to 1948, they still had not found any evidence of where the plane came down or where the bodies of the crew lay.

I have the Operational records of August 1943 and I found that before the fateful flight the crew had flown together on a few missions:-

William was  also on EE137 on the 8th August 1943 with Herbert George EDIS (and the same crew of the 1st September 1943), taking off at 21.35, returning to base at 03.40 (Page 10) to Mannheim, also on the 14th August 1943 William was with Herbert on a raid to Milan at 21.10 and returned at 07.00 (Page 20) and on the 27th August 1943 on W.4993 on a raid to Nuremburg, they took off at 2.15, returning at 05.20.(Page 36)

The crew of JB150 took off at 20.15 on the 31st August 1943 from Ludford Magna to Berlin and was lost without trace. (Page 42).   Their loss was the only one that night.

Written on the Operational Records was :- – Load as above- (referring to the other flights above on the Operational Records – in the folder)– “Aircraft missing, no communication received since take off.”

Crew of JB150 on the night of the 31st August/1st September 1943: –

Sergeant, BARDILL, CECIL, Service Number 1587540, Son of Thomas and Nellie Bardill, of Horsley Woodhouse, Derbyshire.

Sergeant, BENNETT, WILLIAM, Service Number 1028937, Aged 20, Son of Cecil and Miriam Bennett, of Connah’s Quay, Flintshire.

Sergeant, CORFIELD, NORMAN, Service Number 1510733

Flight Sergeant, EDIS, HERBERT GEORGE, Service Number 413180, Aged 22, Royal Australian Air Force, Son of John Robert and Elizabeth Caroline Edis, of Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia.

https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ListingReports/ItemsListing.aspx and https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=1067482 – letters to family on the above website.   (Australian Records for Herbert George EDIS show that the Aircraft was JB130.)   On the Operational Records, the aircraft was “S” JB150 – Load as above- referring to the other flights above on the record – Aircraft missing, no communication received since take off.

Sergeant, FINDLAY, JOHN, Service Number 998702, Aged 35, Son of Charles and Margaret Findlay; husband of Jenny Neill Findlay, of Dundee.

Sergeant, HAIGH, GEOFFREY, Service Number 1590382, Son of George Edward and Lily Haigh, of Halifax.

Sergeant, HOLDAWAY, RONALD DAVID, Service Number 1320347, Son of Robert George and Dulcie Emily Holdaway, of Kensington, London.

William’s name is on Runnymede Memorial so his body was not found and when more records are released, perhaps we will know more about young William’s death, as he was only 20 years old when he died, but had risen to the rank of Sergeant.

Until then, his family could get to know about his service by applying to the R.A.F. at: –

Royal Air Force

RAF Disclosures and Records Office

Room 221B

Trenchard Hall

RAF Cranwell

Sleaford

Lincolnshire

NG34 8HB

Any help to tell William’s story would be gratefully received.


Learn more about the other soldiers on the Connahs Quay and Shotton War Memorial

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