06.01.1945 No. 485 Squadron Spitfire LF.IXE PL394 Fl/Lt. Stead
Operation: Armed reconnaissance
Date: 06th January 1945 (Saturday)
Unit: No. 485 Squadron (motto: Ka whawhai tonu - 'We will fight on') (135 Wing, 84 Group)
Type: Spitfire LF.IX
Base: ALG B.65 Maldeghem, Belgium
Location: Near Breda, Belgium
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Allan Bennetto Stead DFC NZ/411996 RNZAF Age 25.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 14:15 hrs when, during an attack on a train both Spitfire NH514 and Spitfire PL394 flown by 24 year old, Fl/Lt. Allan Bennetto Stead DFC (see here) were hit by debris from the target as it blew up. The pilots reported that their aircraft had been badly damaged but were both ok.
They stated that they were planning to bale out but with insufficient height it seems that they elected to crash land. Sadly both pilots were reported as being killed during the attempt.
Initially buried at the Princehage Cemetery.
Fl/Lt. Allan Bennetto Stead DFC. Bergen-op-Zoom War Cemetery. Grave 4. A. 6. Born on the 26 August 1920 in Wellington. Worked as a hardware assistant for Thompson Bridger Ltd before the war and he joined the RNZAF on the 23rd March 1941. Son of Allan Stead and of Jane Isabella Stead (née Bennetto), of Wellington. 872 Flying hors logged and completed 198 operation sorties. Previously served with 164 and 249 squadrons. Credited with 2 aircraft destroyed, 2 shared destroyed, 2 probable and 1 shared. 4 enemy aircraft damaged and 1 shared damaged. Also destroying a Seafire after being attacked by it on the 10th June 1944. DFC awarded 27th February 1945.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, AWMM, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below: