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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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7 Squadron Crest
05..05.1944 No. 7 Squadron Lancaster III ND906 MG-A F/O. Bennington

Operation: Training

Date: 05th May 1944 (Friday)

Unit: No. 7 Squadron (8 PFF Group)

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: ND906

Code: MG-A

Base: RAF Oakington, Cambridgeshire

Location: Ashby St Ledgers, Northamptonshire

Pilot: F/O. Ian Campbell Bennington NZ/424963 RNZAF Age 34. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. William Horace Young 1863094 RAFVR Age 31. Killed

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Douglas Garnet Matthews 1580013 RAFVR Age 23. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Adrian Leslie Bernard Carson DFM. NZ/411347 RNZAF Age 32. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Denis John Mayhew 1414791 RAFVR Age 22. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Charles William Cooch 1585116 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: W/O. Kenneth Spencer 614042 RAF Age 24. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Lt. Cecil Todd NZ/411795 RNZAF Age 22. Killed


Taking off from RAF Oakington in Cambridgeshire at about 10:02 hrs on a cross country training exercise and practice bombing operation. Just 38 minutes later the Lancaster appeared through cloud and entered a high speed dive crashing into the ground at 11:40 hrs with the aircraft burning out.

The subsequent accident enquiry concluded that it was probable that control was lost as the aircraft had entered thick and turbulent cumulous cloud which featured a high icing index at 3,000 ft and a base down to 1000 ft.

Burial details:

F/O. Ian Campbell Bennington. Oxford Cemetery (Botley). Plot I/2. Grave 219. Son of Norman Joseph Bennington and of Evelyn May Bennington (née Cotter) and husband of Marjorie Bennington, of Masterton, Wellington, New Zealand. A total of 472 flying hours logged, with 27 of these solo on the Lancaster - thought to have completed 2 operational sorties.

Sgt. William Horace Young. Southampton Cemetery (Hollybrook). Sec. M. 10. Grave 51. Son of Ralph and Emily Gertrude Young, of Shirley, Southampton, England. Grave inscription reads: "He Made The Supreme Sacrifice That We Might Live".

Fl/Sgt. Douglas Garnet Matthews. Birmingham Cemetery (Yardley). Grave 43869. Son of Garnet Thomas Henry and Clara Matthews, of Tyseley, Birmingham, England. Grave inscription reads: "His Silver Wings Took Him From Us Leaving Beautiful Memories Of "Our Doug".

Fl/Sgt. Adrian Leslie Bernard Carson DFM. Oxford Cemetery (Botley). Plot I/2. Grave 220. Son of William Daniel and Nellie Margaret Carson, of Brunswick, Wellington, New Zealand. Understood to have completed 47 operational sorties - most it is thought with 75 RNZAF Squadron.

Fl/Sgt. Denis John Mayhew. Brompton Cemetery.Plot O. Grave 192863. Son of Henry Percy and Agnes Elizabeth Mayhew, of Chelsea, London, England. Grave inscription reads: "His Brother Anthony Was Killed On Active Service With The Merchant Navy 20Th May 1941 Age 15". Deck Boy, Anthony Charles Sutcliffe Mayhew of M.V. British Security (London) remembered on Panel 20 on the Tower Hill Memorial.

Sgt. Charles William Cooch. South Wraxall Churchyard (St. James). Row C. Grave 4. Son of Sidney John and Annie Beatrice Cooch, of Bradford-on-Avon, England. Grave inscription reads: "Though I Walk Through The Valley Of The Shadow Of Death, I Will Fear No Evil".

W/O. Kenneth Spencer. Haley Hill Church Cemetery (All Souls). Sec. B. Grave 183. Son of James and Ethel Spencer, of Halifax,Yorkshire, England. Grave inscription reads: "Your Memory Is Our Greatest Treasure In Our Hearts You Will Live For Ever".

Fl/Lt. Cecil Todd. Oxford Cemetery (Botley). Plot I/2. Grave 218. Son of Alexander Gilbert and Ada Evelyn Todd, of Palmerston North, Wellington, New Zealand. 286 flying hours logged, thought to have completed 3 operational sorties. He had originally been posted to Africa when in August 1942 travelling there via Gibralter he was shot down some 40 miles south of Dakar in the sea. Rescued and interred in French West Africa but managed escape the following February and returned to England on the 02nd March - we would be interested in further details of this?

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

KTY - 08.12.2017

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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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