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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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443 squadron badge
12.08.1944 No. 443 Squadron Spitfire IX ML303 F/O. Bentley

Operation: Armed Recce

Date: 12th August 1944 (Saturday)

Unit: No. 443 Squadron (Canadian)

Type: Spitfire LFIX

Serial: ML303

Base: Bazenville Airfield (Crepon) France.

Location: 5 miles North East of Bernay, France.

Pilot: F/O. William John Bentley J189228/R12780 R.C.A.F. Age 24, Killed


During an armed recce patrol in the morning of 12th August on moving targets or bridges, railway junctions, the Spitfire ML303 Merlin 66 engine developed a glycol leak and the pilot was forced to bale out. Sadly, his parachute caught in the canopy and he was dragged down with the aircraft, killing him.



Above and left: St. Valery-en Caux Franco-British Cemetery as photographed by our own Kate Tame durine her visit in 2012. Any relative who would like a higher resolution of these please contact us and we will send you one free of charge.

Burial Details:

F/O. William John Bentley. St. Valery-en Caux Franco-British Cemetery. Grave B.10. Son of William Henry and Esther Bentley, of Willowdale, Ontario, Canada. He had a total of 582 hours flying experience, 475 on the Spitfire.

Researched for relatives of the pilot. With thanks to the following for further information supplied, Les Allison and Harry Hayward – ‘They Shall Grow Not Old’, Norman L.R. Franks ‘Fighter Command Losses’ Vol. 3. Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Inscription: At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember him

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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', 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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Last Modified: 26 May 2014, 22:25

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