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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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485 crest
06.01.1945 No. 485 Squadron Spitfire LF.IXE PL394 Fl/Lt. Stead

Operation: Armed reconnaissance

Date: 06th January 1945 (Saturday)

Unit: No. 485 Squadron (motto: Ka whawhai tonu - 'We will fight on') (135 Wing, 84 Group)

Type: Spitfire LF.IX

Serial: PL394

Code: OU-?

Base: ALG B.65 Maldeghem, Belgium

Location: Near Breda, Belgium

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Allan Bennetto Stead DFC NZ/411996 RNZAF Age 25.


Taking off at 14:15 hrs when, during an attack on a train both Spitfire NH514 and Spitfire PL394 flown by 24 year old, Fl/Lt. Allan Bennetto Stead DFC (see here) were hit by debris from the target as it blew up. The pilots reported that their aircraft had been badly damaged but were both ok.

They stated that they were planning to bale out but with insufficient height it seems that they elected to crash land. Sadly both pilots were reported as being killed during the attempt.

Burial details:

Initially buried at the Princehage Cemetery.

Fl/Lt. Allan Bennetto Stead DFC. Bergen-op-Zoom War Cemetery. Grave 4. A. 6. Born on the 26 August 1920 in Wellington. Worked as a hardware assistant for Thompson Bridger Ltd before the war and he joined the RNZAF on the 23rd March 1941. Son of Allan Stead and of Jane Isabella Stead (née Bennetto), of Wellington. 872 Flying hors logged and completed 198 operation sorties. Previously served with 164 and 249 squadrons. Credited with 2 aircraft destroyed, 2 shared destroyed, 2 probable and 1 shared. 4 enemy aircraft damaged and 1 shared damaged. Also destroying a Seafire after being attacked by it on the 10th June 1944. DFC awarded 27th February 1945.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, AWMM, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 13-01-2021

Acknowledgements: 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', 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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Last Modified: 04 April 2021, 18:03

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