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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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99 Squadron crest
21.06.1941 No. 99 Squadron Wellington IC X9643 F/O. Allen

Operation: Training

Date: 21st June 1941 (Saturday)

Unit: No. 99 Squadron

Type: Wellington IC

Serial: X9643

Code: LN-?

Base: RAF Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire

Location: Two miles East North East of Waterbeach Airfield

Pilot: F/O. Alistair Gordon Allen 84861 RAFVR Age 24. Killed

Pilot 2: P/O. Francis Rendall 87056 RAFVR Age 29. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. 'Billy' William Bennett 975748 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. John Campbell Stewart 801590 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Henry Lewis 936821 RAFVR Age 26. Killed

Other: Cpl. Charles Percy Eva 529463 RAF Age 24. Killed


Crashed two miles east north east of Waterbeach Airfield in Cambridgeshire during an Air Test, bursting into flames with a loss of all the crew.

The accident was caused by the dinghy breaking loose and fouling the elevators leading to a loss of control of the aircraft.

It is believed that Corporal Eva was a member of the ground crew who had been invited on this particular trip.

Sgt. 'Billy' William Bennett seated front row, 2nd from left - do you recognise any others? (courtesy Christine Spencer/Imelda Broatch)

Sgt. 'Billy' William Bennett seated front row, 1st on right - do you recognise any others? (courtesy Christine Spencer/Imelda Broach)

Left: Sgt. William Bennett. Right: 'Billy' Bennett (centre) with friends - recognise any others? (courtesy Christine Spencer/Imelda Broach also to Liz Hunt)

Burial details:

F/O. Alistair Gordon Allen. Edinburgh (Warriston) Cemetery. Section B1. Grave 1213. Son of Charles Gordon and Annie Margaret (nee Jamieson) Allen of Huntley, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

P/O. Francis Rendall. Wandsworth (Putney Vale) Crematorium and Cemetery. Screen wall panel 3. Next of Kin details currently not available.

Sgt. William Bennett. Burnley Cemetery. Grave A.14972. Further details: Son of William and Phoebe Annie Bennett and brother of Mary Smith (nee Bennett 1911-1998), Veronica Robinson (nee Bennett 1913-2007) and Imelda Broatch (nee Bennett) of Burnley, Lancashire, England. Born at 31, Constable Road, Burnley, Lancashire in 1919. ”Billy”, as he was known to friends and family, attended St.Mary’s Roman Catholic School before proceeding to St.Mary’s Central School. He represented the school at both cricket and football and also played for the town’s schoolboy teams. A clever snooker and billiards player, he won several medals in local competitions with St.Mary’s Reading Rooms teams and figured prominently in many other sporting activities. After leaving school, studied as an electrical engineering student at the Burnley Corporation Electricity department. Enlisted in the RAF in December 1939, taking part in many operations over enemy territory. On his death certificate dated the 4th of July 1941, it states that the inquest was held on the 24th of June 1941, reported that he received multiple injuries in the crash, which claimed his life and the lives of the rest of the crew.

Sgt. John Campbell Stewart. Hampstead Cemetery. Section C7. Grave 60B. Son of Mr. and Mrs. John Campbell Stewart and husband of Violet Edith of West Hampstead, England.

Sgt. William Henry Lewis. Wollaston (St.James) Churchyard. Old part, N.W.of church tower. Son of William and Jane Lewis of Stourbridge, England.

Cpl. Charles Percy Eva. Waterbeach Cemetery, Cambridgeshire. Grave 35B. Born in Holburn (London) in the June 1917 Qtr, the 2nd son of Albert Edward and Beatrice Cecilia (née Munnich) Eva. He married Ruth Shipley at Tadcaster, Yorkshire in the December 1939 Qtr. They had no children.

Researched by Aircrew Remembered volunteer, researcher and genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. Photo credits to Christine Spencer (niece) and Imelda Broatch (sister) of Sgt. 'Billy Bennett. Also to Liz Hunt who contacted us in July 2016 - it seems that her family were neighbours to the family of Sgt. Bennett. Many thanks to Dave Champion who provided further details - July 2018.

LI / KTY 07.07.2016 - Further photographs added and enhanced.

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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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