19/20.02.1945 627 Squadron Mosquito XXV KB401 AZ-E Wg.Cdr. Benjamin DFC & Bar
Date: 19-20th February 1945 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: 627 Squadron
Type: Mosquito XXV
Base: RAF Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire
Location: Near Colditz
Pilot: Wg.Cdr. Eric Arthur Benjamin DFC and Bar 77777 RAFVR Age 25. Killed
Nav: Fg.Off. John Ettock Heath DFM 171190 RAFVR Age ? Missing
REASON FOR LOSS:
Positioned from RAF Woodhall Spa to RAF Coningsby to be flown by the master bomber for this operation.
627 Squadron Mosquito
Hit by flak and crashing in the target area. As this was the master bomber the raid was not classed as a success. Damage to the target was classified as superficial and no evidence to show where the bombing fell from the 254 Lancasters that took part. This was the only loss of the operation.
Further information from Norbert Brandt explained that the Mosquito came down behind the Engelhardt's estate where it caught fire along with some buildings. The fire services from Erlbach had great difficulty containing the fire.
Wg.Cdr. Eric Arthur Benjamin DFC and Bar. Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery. Grave 1.Z.13. Son of Albert and Beatrice Benjamin and husband of M.E. Benjamin of Twickenham, Middlesex, England. Grave inscription reads: "Until We Meet Again. Betty, Jeanne And Sally".
DFC was awarded when a Sqn.Ldr and whilst with 61 Sqn - Gazetted 7th September 1943. Bar to DFC was awarded when a Sqn.Ldr and whilst with 61 Sqn - Gazetted 18th January 1944.
Fg.Off. John Ettock Heath DFM. Runnymede Memorial Panel 267. Understood to be from Samlesbury, Lancashire, England. Remembered on the War Memorial Hall in Samlesbury.
DFM awarded whilst with 50 Sqn - Gazetted 18th January 1944
Researched by Aircrew Remembered, researcher and specialist genealogist Linda Ibrom for relatives of this crew. Bart Baeyens for grave photo, Amanda West for Runnymede Panel. With thanks to Norbert Brandt for details on location - April 2018.