13/14.01.1945 515 Squadron Mosquito FB.VI PZ465 Sqn Ldr. Cyril V. Bennett DFC.
Operation: Bomber Support / Patrol
Date: 13th/14th January 1945 (Saturday/Sunday)
Unit No: 515 Squadron, 100 Group
Type: Mosquito FB.VI
Base: RAF Little Snoring, Norfolk, England
Location: North Sea off the east coast of England
Pilot: Sqn Ldr. Cyril Victor Bennett DFC. 109072 RAFVR Age 33. MiA
Nav: Flt Lt. Robert Arthur Smith 170400 RAFVR Age 37. MiA
Note: Both crew members are described as very experienced and above the normal age for aircrew.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Above: 515 Sqn Mosquito
Taking off from RAF Little Snoring in Norfolk, England at 16:48 hrs on a patrol in the Husum - Jagel regions of Germany.
It was originally believed that Sqn Ldr. Bennett's Mosquito was shot down by a German night fighter whilst on patrol.
However, Roger William Bennett has provided Aircrew Remembered a transcript of a letter, dated the 16th May 1945, sent to his mother by Wg Cdr. Howard Kelsey DFC, the Commanding Officer of 515 Sqn., which describes a different scenario but does not explain the reason for the loss of the aircraft and crew.
“I was waiting for your husband to return when I received a telephone call saying that an aircraft giving you husbands call sign had as is customary announced he was thirty miles off the coast and returning home”. He went on to say that "a radar plot was plotted at the time coming in from the east. The plot was on your husband's anticipated homeward route. The plot later disappeared which would happen if the aircraft crashed inti the sea The whole squadron was ordered off at first light to search for signs of wreckage or a dinghy. The weather at the time poor with freezing temperature at the time. There was no indication from them of any damage".
Sqn Ldr. Cyril Victor Bennett DFC. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 264. Son of William and Edith Emily Bennett and husband of Marion Bennett, of Newcastle-under-Lyme, England.
DFC awarded whilst a Flt Lt. On 256 Sqn. London Gazette 23rd May 1944
Flt Lt. Robert Arthur Smith. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 266. Son of Edwin S. and Edith Jane Smith and husband of Irene May Smith, of Ilford, Essex, England.
Researched by Kelvin Youngs (Web Master) for Roger Bennett, son of the pilot who contacted us in October 2017 and dedicated to the relatives of this crew. Thanks to Roger Bennett for the letter content which provides additional information about the location of the aircraft/crew loss. (Nov 2022).
Other sources listed below.