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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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515 Squadron crest
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

Serial: PZ465

Code: 3P:?

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.


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".

Burial details:

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.

RS 08.11.2022 - Update to loss information

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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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