16/17th September 1942 11 OTU Wellington IC DV612 F/O. Benefield
Date: 16/17th September 1942 (Wednesday/Thursday)
Unit: No. 11 Operational Training Unit. 91 Group
Type: Wellington IC
Base: RAF Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire
Location: Duisberg, Germany
Pilot: F/O. Victor Dominic Benefield NZ/41302 Age 28. Killed
Obs: W/O. Norman Frank James 565592 PoW No. 27096 Camp: Marlag Ind Milag Nord Westertimke (Tarnstedt)
W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O. John Longden 953747 PoW No. 27129 Camp: Stalag Lamsdorf
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ernest Joseph Outon NZ/413277 Age 21. Killed
Air/Gnr: W/O. Frederick Thomas Hooper 1201704 PoW No. 27103 Camp: Stalag Lamsdorf
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 20:12 hrs. 369 aircraft taking part to bomb the Krupps works at Essen. Although it is reported at the majority of the bombing was scattered, this was described as the most successful on what was known to be a difficult target.
33 large fires with a further 80 medium sized fires with 8 industrial and 6 transport premise being hit. The Krupps works were also damaged, hit by 15 high explosive bombs - further damage was caused when one of the allied aircraft crashed into the target full of incendiary bombs - 47 people reported killed on the ground with a further 92 suffering various degrees of injuries.The scattered bombing also hit Bochum causing 50 fires with a reported 13 killed. The towns of Herne and Cochem were also hit - killing a further 15 people on the ground.
Whilst flying at 10,000 ft they were hit by flak whilst flying over Duisberg. Three crew survived and taken PoW.
The training units were called upon to make up the numbers. Losses from these units were huge and it was the last time they would be called upon to take part in main force operations.
27 OTU lost 2 aircraft with 5 crew killed.
26 OTU lost 2 aircraft with all 10 crew killed.
25 OTU lost 1 aircraft with 4 crew killed and the pilot taken PoW.
23 OTU lost 3 aircraft with 13 crew killed and 2 taken PoW.
22 OTU lost 1 aircraft with all 5 crew killed.
21 OTU lost 1 aircraft with all 5 crew killed.
15 OTU lost 2 aircraft with all 10 crew killed.
12 OTU lost 2 aircraft with all 10 crew killed.
11OTU lost 3 aircraft with 12 crew killed and 3 taken PoW.
10 OTU lost 1 aircraft with all 5 crew killed.
On the 04th May 1942 DV612 force landed at Tinnenham whilst with 103 squadron. After an operation to bomb the Bosch factory at Stuttart. Out of fuel over England the pilot P/O. John Fincher Brookes ordered his crew to bale out which they all did successfully. Pilot not injured and the aircraft repaired.
F/O. Victor Dominic Benefield. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 2.H.6. Born on the 08th May 1914 at Wanganui . Son of Percival and Agnes Frances Benefield (née Murphy - died 28th October 1924, age 42), of Wanganui, Wellington, New Zealand. A total of 595 flying hours logged and on his 3rd operational sortie.
Sgt. Ernest Joseph Outon. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 2.H.7. Born on the 27th May 1921 at Gisborne. Son of Frederick William and Edith May Outen (née Owen - died 1967), of Gisborne, Auckland, New Zealand. A total of 16 flying hours logged and on his 01st operational sortie.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below: