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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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24th April 1944 6 Air Observers School Anson I EG138 l/Sgt. Bennett

Operation: Training

Date: 24th April 1944 (Monday)

Unit: No. 6 Air Observers School - 25 Group

Type: Anson I

Serial: EG138

Code: -

Base: RAF Staverton, Gloucestershire

Location: Godqmanchester, Cambridgeshire

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Henry Thomas Leonard Bennett NZ/424411 RNZAF Age 26. Killed

Nav: P/O. Allan Murray Minard J/38664 RCAF Age 31. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. John McNeil 1670592 RAFVR Age 21. Seriously injured

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Eric Frank Hopkins 1654214 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Norman Daniel Rixson 1602545 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 13:40 hrs from Moreton Valence (satellite airfield of RAF Staverton) at about 03:00 hrs on a navigation exercise. The planned route was Base - Ironbridge - Allscott target range - Peterborough Eye target - Chippenham 0 Base at 3,000 ft.

It is believed they were shot down by an enemy intruder aircraft over Godqmanchester.

Sgt. McNeil was seriously injured and succumbed to his wounds on the 26th April.

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. Henry Thomas Leonard Bennett. Cambridge City Cemetery. Grave 13762. Born on the 19th October 1917 at Dunedin. A driver for W.W. Watt of Dunedin prior to service. Enlisted on the 02nd May 1942 at Rotorua. Son of Henry Charles James Tomlinson and Lillian Dorothy Bennett (née Ling and later Ward) and of Kathleen Eva Bennett (née Morrison) of Dunedin. 549 Flying hours logged.

P/O. Allan Murray Minard. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 48.1.5. Son of Duncan McRae Minard and Stella Lee Allan Minard, of 3 Hartington Place, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and husband of Marjory Frances Minard (née Bratton), of Ottawa. Grave inscription: 'They Shall Grow Not Old As We That Are Left Grow Old. Age Shall Not Weary Them Nor The Years Condemn'. His brother, W/Cdr. Guy McRae Minard C/2114 OBE also served, survived the war to become president of the Kimberly Clark Corporation. He passed away in 1985 of cancer aged 76.

Sgt. Eric Frank Hopkins. Newpor Cemeteryt (Christchurch) Block 1. Extn. Grave 5. Son of Frank Pearce Hopkins and Phoebe Martha Hopkins, of Newport, Wales.

Sgt. John McNeil. Glasgow Cemetery (Lambhill). Sec. B. Grave 898. Son of John and Williamina McNeil, of Possilpark, Glasgow, Scotland.

Sgt. Norman Daniel Rixson. Grays New Cemetery. Sec. 13. Grave 324. Son of George Alfred and Clara Florence Rixson, of Grays, Essex, England.

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:

KTY 08-02-2021

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Acknowledgements
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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