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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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bomber command
16/17th September 1942 11 OTU Wellington IC DV612 F/O. Benefield

Operation: Essen

Date: 16/17th September 1942 (Wednesday/Thursday)

Unit: No. 11 Operational Training Unit. 91 Group

Type: Wellington IC

Serial: DV612

Code: OP-L

Base: RAF Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire

Location: Duisberg, Germany

Pilot: F/O. Victor Dominic Benefield NZ/41302 Age 28. Killed

Obs: W/O. Norman Frank James 565592 PoW No. 27096 Camp: Marlag Ind Milag Nord Westertimke (Tarnstedt)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O. John Longden 953747 PoW No. 27129 Camp: Stalag Lamsdorf

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ernest Joseph Outon NZ/413277 Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: W/O. Frederick Thomas Hooper 1201704 PoW No. 27103 Camp: Stalag Lamsdorf


Taking off at 20:12 hrs. 369 aircraft taking part to bomb the Krupps works at Essen. Although it is reported at the majority of the bombing was scattered, this was described as the most successful on what was known to be a difficult target.

33 large fires with a further 80 medium sized fires with 8 industrial and 6 transport premise being hit. The Krupps works were also damaged, hit by 15 high explosive bombs - further damage was caused when one of the allied aircraft crashed into the target full of incendiary bombs - 47 people reported killed on the ground with a further 92 suffering various degrees of injuries.The scattered bombing also hit Bochum causing 50 fires with a reported 13 killed. The towns of Herne and Cochem were also hit - killing a further 15 people on the ground.

Whilst flying at 10,000 ft they were hit by flak whilst flying over Duisberg. Three crew survived and taken PoW.

The training units were called upon to make up the numbers. Losses from these units were huge and it was the last time they would be called upon to take part in main force operations.

27 OTU lost 2 aircraft with 5 crew killed.

26 OTU lost 2 aircraft with all 10 crew killed.

25 OTU lost 1 aircraft with 4 crew killed and the pilot taken PoW.

23 OTU lost 3 aircraft with 13 crew killed and 2 taken PoW.

22 OTU lost 1 aircraft with all 5 crew killed.

21 OTU lost 1 aircraft with all 5 crew killed.

15 OTU lost 2 aircraft with all 10 crew killed.

12 OTU lost 2 aircraft with all 10 crew killed.

11OTU lost 3 aircraft with 12 crew killed and 3 taken PoW.

10 OTU lost 1 aircraft with all 5 crew killed.

On the 04th May 1942 DV612 force landed at Tinnenham whilst with 103 squadron. After an operation to bomb the Bosch factory at Stuttart. Out of fuel over England the pilot P/O. John Fincher Brookes ordered his crew to bale out which they all did successfully. Pilot not injured and the aircraft repaired.

Burial details:

F/O. Victor Dominic Benefield. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 2.H.6. Born on the 08th May 1914 at Wanganui . Son of Percival and Agnes Frances Benefield (née Murphy - died 28th October 1924, age 42), of Wanganui, Wellington, New Zealand. A total of 595 flying hours logged and on his 3rd operational sortie.

Sgt. Ernest Joseph Outon. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 2.H.7. Born on the 27th May 1921 at Gisborne. Son of Frederick William and Edith May Outen (née Owen - died 1967), of Gisborne, Auckland, New Zealand. A total of 16 flying hours logged and on his 01st operational sortie.

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

KTY 10-11-2021

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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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