AR banner
Search Tips Advanced Search
Back to Top

Info LogoAdd to or correct this story with a few clicks.
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.
Check our Research databases: Database List


We seek additional information and photographs. Please contact us via the Helpdesk.

101 Squadron Crest
26/27.11.1943 101 Squadron Lancaster III DV289 SR-T Fl/Sgt. James Gordon Bennett

Operation: Berlin

Date: 26/27 November 1943 (Friday/Saturday)

Unit: 101 Squadron - Motto: Mens agitat molem ('Mind over matter')

Squadron Badge: Issuant from the battlements of a tower, a demi lion rampant guardant. The battlements symbolise the squadron's pioneering role in the development of power-operated gun turrets, while the lion indicates the unit's fighting power and spirit. Approved by King George VI in February 1938

Type: Avro Lancaster Mk. III

Serial: DV289

Code: SR-T

Base: RAF Ludford Magna, Lincolnshire

Location: Heuchelheim, Giessen, Hesse Germany

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. James Gordon (Jimmie) Bennett R143404 RCAF Age 32 - Killed (1)

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Ronald William Hodgson 1523752 RAFVR Age 21 - Killed (2)

Nav: Fl/Lt. Francis George Tims Collins 107924 RAFVR Age 28 - Killed (3)

Air Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Michael Joseph Kennedy R117380 RCAF Age 22 - Killed (4)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Herbert Feeney 1318266 RAFVR Age 21 - Killed (5)

Air/Gnr (MU): Sgt Geoffrey North 1627763 RAFVR Age 19 - Killed (6)

Air/Gnr (R): Sgt. Alexander McKeeman 1822144 RAFVR - PoW No. 253691 Stalag Lamsdorf now Łambinowice, Poland - L344 (7)

Spec Equip Op: F/O. George Lewis Spofford J/11590 (formerly R97381) RCAF Age 24 - PoW No. 1764 Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang, Western Pomerania, Germany - L1 - died 21 July 1944 (8)

We appeal to anyone with further information and/or photographs to please contact us via our Helpdesk


On Friday 26 February 1943 New Zealander, Sgt. Stanley Maurice George Peryer and his crew arrived at RAF Ridgewell in Essex from 1657 Conversion Unit at the nearby RAF Stradishall in Suffolk. The other members of the crew were: Sgt. C. N. Searle (flight engineer) P/O. J. J. Pattinson (navigator), P/O. J. Deutscher (air bomber), P/O. G. L. Spofford RCAF (wireless operator), Sgt. J. McLaren (mid upper gunner) and Sgt. J. S. Hatton (rear gunner)

The wireless operator, George Lewis Spofford hailed from Vancouver and just seven days earlier had celebrated his 24th birthday. George had excelled at school and stated as much on his RCAF application:

'I have always been scientifically minded. Obtained high honours in science and mathematics at school. I am studious and anxious to learn. I want more than anything else to serve my country and have a future in aviation.'

And just to back it up the vice principal of Toronto's Jarvis Collegiate Institute, James T. Jenkins added:

'Geo. Spofford was a student at Jarvis Collegiate Institute for nearly four years. I considered him the best man of a brilliant class'.

And George clearly impressed his RCAF interviewing officer who wrote:

'Good appearance, cheerful, pleasant manner. Has evidently had an outstanding record at school. Strong in all mathematical subjects and very well spoken of by teachers and sponsors. Fully recommended'

The plaudits continued throughout his training in Canada

No 1 BGS - Gunnery - 'Most intelligent and hard working - 1st in class of 29 (12 May 1942)'

Wireless training at 4 Wireless School - '9th of 119 10 April 1942'

Final overall assessment wireless and gunnery training at 1 Bombing and Gunnery School - '2nd of 29 (12 May 1942)'

'Very sincere and reliable - Strong sense of responsibility and quick and decisive in action' Officer Commanding 1 BGS

On 2 March 90 Squadron took delivery of Stirling Mk I BF449 from manufacturers Short and Harland of Belfast. Modified and prepared for operational flying by ground crew the aircraft was declared fit and ready by 9 March when it was allocated to Sgt. Peryer and his crew for a gardening (mine laying) operation to the Silverthorne IV are located in the Kattegat Channel of the Danish Straits.

The crew duly took off at 19.29 but 'owing to the starboard outer throttle exactor becoming unserviceable. The vegetables - 3 x B202 - were brought back to base'.

However, on touchdown at 2300, an engine surge caused the aircraft to swing violently and the undercarriage collapsed causing considerable damage to the aircraft but fortunately no injuries to the crew.

Alas the brand new Stirling was a declared a Categorie E1 write off i.e. suitable only for component recovery.

Whether or not it was because of his actions on 9/10 March is not known, but Stanley Peryer was detailed to fly his next three ops as second dickey and it was not until 4/5 April that he was permitted to lead his own crew into battle i.e. a raid on Kiel which they completed successfully. Ops followed regularly and apart from odd discomforts, coned by our own searchlights, four night fighter attacks and an engine overheating they flew another 9 ops by the end of May when the Squadron moved to RAF Wratting Common in Suffolk.

Apart from two early returns due to engine problems the crew completed another 6 operations by 24 July.

Saturday 24 July however, heralded the end of George Spofford's association with the Peryer crew and with 90 Squadron as he was posted to '101 Squadron for special duties.'

In July 1943 notices appeared on RAF notice boards asking for volunteers with a knowledge of German, nothing more and although George had only an elementary knowledge of the language his desire to learn an advance his aviation career were more than enough incentive for him to put himself forward.

It transpired that volunteers were required to operate a new radio counter measure device which would become known as ABC short for Airborne Cigar. It was a development of an existing device called 'Jostle' also known as Ground Cigar, operated by 15 Ground Stations with transmitters to jam the German broadcasts to their night fighters. However, its limited range of 140 miles rendered it ineffective for the long distance raids into Germany and an airborne version was a logical development masterminded by the Telecommunications Research Establishment at Malvern.

The ABC equipment consisted of a receiver together with three T3160 50 watt transmitters. The system had a motorized tuner that swept through the entire band 25 times a second to identify frequencies which were then indicated on a cathode ray screen. The Operator in turn manually tuned to the same frequency and listened in to the conversation. If identified as a fighter control broadcast the frequency was jammed by the operator. Jamming took the form of a loud noise of a varying note. Once jammed the Germans would try another frequency which the operator then attempted to find and similarly jam. A reasonable knowledge of German was necessary to recognise key words in the transmissions such as Kapelle i.e. ‘target altitude’ and code words to pass to Intelligence Officers on return to base.

Fitted in Lancaster bombers, the equipment was operated by an eighth member of the crew i.e. the Special Duty Operator or SDO, whose job was to identify German transmissions to night fighters then jam the VHF frequency being used.

The SDO was ensconced with the equipment in a blacked out compartment to the rear of the main spar on the port side of the aircraft and such area being unheated was, like the gunners, reliant on an electrically heated suit and other extra clothing for some semblance warmth at high altitude.

Identifiable by two 7 foot aerials on top of the fuselage, one below the bomb-aimer’s window and a short receiver aerial on top of the rear fuselage, almost all 101 Squadron Lancasters had been ABC equipped by the end of October 1943.

ABC aircraft were stationed in pairs at regular intervals in the bomber stream so that if one were shot down, other parts of the stream would still be covered.

Trials were carried out in early September and the first operational use took place on 22 September when 18 such aircraft were despatched as part of a force to raid on Hannover.

George Spofford was initially attached to RAF West Kingsdown (27-30 July) and Telecommunications Research Establishment at Malvern 31 July - 3 August) for training. His training presumably continued with 101 Squadron at RAF Ludford Magna in Lincolnshire and although ABC came into operational use in late September it was to be 20 October before George was detailed as a Special Operator. He was to fly on an operation to Leipzig with F/O. D.H. Todd and his crew, which became something of an anti-climax when Todd aborted due to engine trouble.

Special Duties Operators were not attached to any particular crew but were rather allocated somewhat randomly on an ad hoc basis.

Subsequently George flew on 22 October with Fl/Sgt. D.N.McConnell, on 3 November with WO. A.J.S. Walker to Düsseldorf and on 18 and 22 November he was back with F/O. Todd both to Berlin.

Flying their first operation on the Berlin raid of 22 November 1943 was the recently arrived Jimmie Bennett and his crew with whom George's immediate future was inextricably linked.

Jimmie Bennett, an ex Police Constable from Vancouver, and his fellow Canadian Michael Kennedy had arrived at Ludford Magna on 13 October, followed on 30 October, by the rest of the crew. Jimmie was 32, married with two children and the father figure of the crew in every respect. Michael Kennedy the air bomber was 22 and about whom nothing else is known. Herbert Feeney aged 21, was the wireless operator who is thought to have been born in Ireland but whose family now lived in Watford and the flight engineer was 21-year-old Lancastrian Ronald Hodgson. Navigator, Fl/Lt Francis Collins, the only officer of the crew, was 28 and a graduate of Balliol College Oxford, and an MA. He and his wife Derah had been married for three years. Francis came from a fairly affluent background and prior to joining the air force had been an Economist at the Export Credit Department of the Board of Trade. The two air gunners were Alexander McKeeman thought to be Scottish and about 19 years old and Geoffrey North from Buckinghamshire who was also 19.

(Further information about the crew members can be found in the Biographical Details section below

The so called Battle of Berlin had begun with the operation of 18 November 1943 with further major raids on 22/23 and 23/24 November and the fourth major raid of the sequence was planned for the night of 26/27 November.

443 Lancasters and 7 Mosquitoes were detailed for the raid on Berlin and 157 Halifaxes and 21 Lancasters for a diversionary raid on Stuttgart; 101 Squadron was to provide 16 Lancasters for Berlin and 6 for Stuttgart. 3 of the Berlin and 1 of the Stuttgart Lancasters flew with 7 man crews presumably because there were insufficient trained SDOs at this early stage of the use of ABC equipment.

Both forces were to fly a common route over Northern France and onwards to just past Frankfurt before diverging, with the Berlin force turning north east and the Stuttgart force due south.


Gravesend - Beachy Head - 50°20N 01°30E - 50°20N 09°10E - 52°15N 12°10E - BERLIN - 52°40N 13°50E - 53°00N 13°40E - 52°38N 10°00E - 52°40N 04°40E - 52°50N 03°00E - Mablethorpe.


It was almost sunset as the first four 101 Squadron Lancasters took off at 1700 hours and 30 minutes later all 22 were airborne. Jimmie Bennett and his crew, flying DV289, were next to last in line, getting away at 17.24. The force duly formed up and crossing the English coast at Beachy Head flew over the channel and on reaching the coast of Northern France turned due east towards Frankfurt.

Weather en route was 10/10ths cloud from 10-16000 feet breaking locally to 3 - 6/10ths at 6° to 9° East (from the eastern border of Belgium to Frankfurt).

The following is taken from the Bomber Command Night Raid Report:

'The [German] controllers thought that Frankfurt was the main target and most of the combats on the outward journey occurred in the 50 mile stretch between Frankfurt and Coblenz, where an aircraft reported seeing 10 Me210s in loose formation. 40 fighters were observed over Berlin where 9 combats took place. Few aircraft were seen over Stuttgart.'

'9 bombers were seen to go down on the outbound route. 4 were lost to controlled fighters on the way home, in the area between Bremen and the Ruhr, and 2 were shot down by flak at Bremen and Hannover. 15 aircraft were unaccounted for. 9 bombers were seen to go down on the outbound route, 3 to fighters between the French coast and Coblenz, and 5 to fighters and 1 to flak in the Frankfurt area, but some of these may have belonged to the Stuttgart force, which was following the same route. No loses were observed over Stuttgart.'

A total of 28 Lancasters were lost on the Berlin raid with a further 14 crashing in England whilst the Stuttgart force lost 6 Halifaxes.

Most of the damage to Berlin was in the semi-industrial suburb of Reinickendorf but the city centre and the Siemensstadt (with its many electrical equipment factories), was also hit. Bombing in Stuttgart was very scattered and little damage was inflicted but the raid was successful insofar as part of the night fighter force was drawn off from the Berlin operation.

Three 101 Squadron Lancasters were among those lost that night:

DV289 flown by Jimmie Bennett - see later for details.

DV268, one of the 7 man crew aircraft on the Berlin raid, was flown by Fl/Sgt Paul Rudolph Zanchi and shot down home-bound. The only survivor was the navigator, Sgt. J. C. Jossa who became a prisoner of war whilst the six dead crew members lie in Sage War Cemetery in Lower Saxony.

DV285 flown on the Stuttgart raid by P/O. A.J.S. Walker was shot down, outbound, by Hauptmann Eckart-Wilhelm von Bonin of Stab II./NJG 1 and crashed at Aywaille, Belgium. The pilot and air bomber were taken prisoners of war whilst the navigator evaded but was later captured and became a prisoner of war. The other five members of the crew were killed and lie in Heverlee War cemetery, Belgium.

Jimmie Bennett's DV289 was shot down by a night fighter and confirmed as the 50th victory of Major Wilhelm Herget, Stab I./NJG4 flying a Bf 110 G-4 from Florennes airfield in Belgium (see biographical details No. 9.

DV289 crashed at Heuchelheim, Giessen, Hesse Germany located in the 50 mile stretch between Frankfurt and Coblenz referred to earlier.

Details of the crash are not known but the only survivors were rear gunner Alexander McKeeman, and SDO George Spofford. Alexander McKeemann was captured and later sent to Stalag 344 at Lamsdorf in Silesia. He is believed to have survived the war and returned safely to the UK.

The remains of the other six members of the crew were recovered from the wreckage and buried at Heuchelheim Cemetery.

George Spofford was taken prisoner on 27 November and eventually sent to Dulag Luft on 11 December from where he was sent to Stalag Luft 1 at Lamsdorf in Silesia, arriving there on 19 December.

On 29 November a 'missing' telegram was sent to his mother who must have then spent the next two months hoping for the best but fearing the worst, until towards the end of January 1944 she received the glorious news that her only child was alive and well, albeit a prisoner of war in Germany. But 7 months later came the stark, sickening news, that her son George was dead, having taken his own life.

His funeral service was carried out by the English Padre, Captain H. A. Mitchell. The simple but impressive ceremony was attended by all British and Dominion Forces and American Forces as well as representatives of the German air Force. Wreaths were given by the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal Air Force, the United States Army Air Corps and German officers of the camp. Group Captain N. W.. Marwood-Elton, the Senior British Officer was present at the graveside at Barth Cemetery with all George's personal friends. Photographs of the funeral ceremony were also sent to George's mother.

On 22 December 1976 a local newspaper in the Wetterau area published the following story which has been translated from German.

Wreckage of an English bomber discovered

Engines, bombs and ammunition were five meters deep - explosives experts averted the danger.

The salvage crew found parts of the plane that crashed years ago. To do so they had to dig a pit about five meters deep to get to the wreck

Reichelsheim - Heuchelheim. In the last few days, specialists from the 'Hessen Sprengaktion', together with similar specialists from a private company on the PREAG open-cast mine have been digging up wreckage, weapons, live ammunition and, in some cases, dangerous bombs, which since the crash of an English bomber in 1944 have remained in the ground like time bombs. It was especially the phosphorus bombs, that were recovered from the ground in large numbers, which could easily have exploded by exposure to the sun alone. The demolition experts from the regional council have now averted the danger.

The dangerous undertaking was started because Preag wanted to develop further areas for open cast mining in the Heuchelheim district. The residents however, still remembered that an English plane had crashed in this area 32 years ago, so the plant management alerted the President's explosives team. Together with another special troop, the area was then searched with probes, and lo and behold, they found what they were looking for.

After careful digging, the wreckage of a four-engine English bomber was uncovered at a depth of about five meters. In addition to engine parts, propellers and other heavy pieces of iron that had dug deep into the ground in the crash, a large number of incendiary bombs and six machine guns with their associated ammunition were found. The parts were well preserved with some showing no sign of rust. Even the smell of gasoline and oil hit the demolition squad.

Of course, there was no trace left of the cockpit and the wings, which had probably remained on the surface during the crash. Inhabitants reported that English soldiers had recovered their dead comrades after the crash and also removed the superficial parts of the wreckage.

A spokesman for the regional council said that the dangerous finds, i.e. the bombs and the machine gun ammunition, would be safely disposed of at the Romrod explosives site (near Alsfeld).

On the right is a sharp-edged rotor part that showed hardly any signs of corrosion.


(1) Fl/Sgt. James Gordon Bennett was born on 1 June 1911 at Vancouver British Columbia Canada the son of Vivian Edmonds Bennett (born Cornwall) and Margaret Bennett nee Tait (born and married Shetland Islands). He had three siblings: William Vivian Bennett born c 1908, Margaret Edmonds Bennett born c 1914 and Richard Lanyon Bennett born c 1920

He was educated at various English schools (1917-1919), Queen Mary Public School, Vancouver (1919-1925) and Lord Byng High School, Vancouver (1925-1928).

After leaving school he became a Wicker Worker, later a Clerk and for seven years took casual employment on logging and mining before becoming a Police Constable with the BC Provincial Police in 1938 and leaving to join the air force in 1941. He played English rugby, skied and hiked.

On 10 November 1932 he married Charlotte Belle Stonnell at Seattle, Washington USA. They lived at 3026 Woodland Drive Vancouver and 502 4St East North Vancouver. They had two children James Vivian Bennett born 2 May 1934 and Margaret Anne Bennett born 6 November 1938.

When he enlisted at Vancouver on 5 December 1941 at Vancouver, he was 5'9" tall weighing 155lbs with a medium complexion brown eyes and black hair

4 Initial Training School at RCAF Edmonton, Alberta, 5 Elementary Flying Training School at RCAF High River, Alberta and 15 Service Flying Training School at RCAF Claresholm, Alberta he was awarded his Flying Badge and promoted to Sergeant 30 December 1942

He embarked for the UK on 26 January 1943 and on arrival was posted to 3 Personnel Reception Centre at Bournemouth and on 19 April he was posted to 15 Pilot Advanced Flying Unit.

Promoted to Flight Sergeant on 6 June 1943 and two days later posted to 30 Operational Training Unit at RAF Hixon, Staffordshire and on 30 August to 1667 Conversion Unit at RAF Lindholme in the West Riding of Yorkshire. He was posted to 101 Squadron at RAF Ludford Magna, Lincolnshire for operational flying on 30 October 1943.

(2) Sgt. Ronald William Hodgson was born in 1922 at Ashton under Lyne Lancashire the son of Harry Hodgson (a Railway Shunter) and Mary Hodgson nee Shackleton, later of Blackley, Manchester. He had one sibling Harry M Hodgson born 1914.

In 1939 his parents and brother lived at 2 Rosy Bank Ashton under Lyne.

(3) Fl/Lt. Francis George Tims Collins M.A. (Oxon.) was born on 3 June 1915 at Greenwich, London the only child of George William Joseph Collins and Beatrice Reading Collins nee Tims. George William Collins was a Boiler Composition Manufacturer and Tanning Material and Chemical Merchant.

Francis attended Aske's Hatcham School, London and Balliol College, Oxford.

He won the London Boys' Chess Championship in 1933 and was the London League's nominee for the British Boys' Championship in April 1933. In 1933 he tied first with AWJ Down for the Boys Championship, but lost the play-off. He also won the Civil Service Championship (Barstow Trophy) in 1938 and 1939

In 1939 the family lived at 1 The Crossway, Chislehurst and Sidcup, Kent at which time Francis George Collins was an Economist to the Export Credit Department (Board of Trade).

In 1941 he married Derah May Prior at Bromley, Kent and later of Harbledown, Kent.

A daughter, Christina F. Collins was born at Hammersmith in 1944

1375390 LAC Francis George Tims Collins was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on probation (emergency) on 13 September 1941 (London Gazette 11 November 1941): confirmed in this appointment and promoted to Flying Officer (war subs) on 13 September 1942 (London Gazette 30 October 1942) and further promoted to Flight Lieutenant (war subs) on 13 September 1943 (London Gazette 17 September 1943)

He is commemorated on the Second World War Memorial in the Chapel Passage, East Wall, Balliol College, Oxford.

(4) Fl/Sgt. Michael Joseph Kennedy was born on 25 September 1920 at Cobourg, Ontario, Canada, the son of Michael James Kennedy MD (Dr) and Irene Catherine Kennedy nee Brennan later of 204 Larch Street Sudbury Ontario.

He had two siblings: Clare Francise Kennedy born 1918 and Margaret Mary Kennedy born 1919.

He was educated at St Thomas Separate School (1926-1933), Sudbury High School and Regiopolis College, Kingston Ontario (1934-1938)

After leaving school he worked as a Garage Mechanic until enlisting in the RCAF.

He had an avid appetite for sport participating extensively in basketball, rugby, boxing, paddling and swimming as wel as lacrosse, baseball, softball, tennis, badminton, track and field moderately.

When he enlisted at North Bay Ontario on 5 August 1941 he was 5' 4½" tall weighing 127 lbs with a dark complexion, hazel eyes and brown hair.

After pilot training at 2 Initial Training School at RCAF Regina Saskatchewn, 5 Elementary Flying Training School, High river Alberta and 7 Service Flying Training School at RCAF MacLeod he was remustered as an air bomber. There followed training at 6 Bombing and Gunnery School at RCAF Mount View and 8 Air Observer School at RCAF Anciene Lorette he was awarded his Air Observer Badge and promoted to Sergeant on 22 January 1943.

He arrived in the UK on 17 March and was posted to 3 Personnel Reception Centre at Bournemouth the following day. He was posted to 9 (Observer) Advanced Flying Unit at RAF Penrhos in Wales on 11 May. On 5 June he was posted to 30 Operational Training Unit at RAF Hixon, Staffordshire and on 22 July promoted to Flight Sergeant.

On 30 August he was posted to 1667 Conversion Unit at RAF Lindholme in the West Riding of Yorkshire and on 30 October to 101 Squadron at RAF Ludford Magna, Lincolnshire for operational flying.

In 1943 Major Michael James Kennedy was a Doctor at Petawawa Military Hospital Ontario.

In 1943 he married Jean Fryer Stebbings at Stafford Staffordshire England who lived at 23 Lovatt Street, Stafford.

(5) Sgt. Herbert Feeney son of Michael Feeney (a Jobbing Gardner) and Mary Feeney, of Watford, Hertfordshire.

He is thought to have had 6 siblings: Blanche Feeney born 1915, Veronica Feeney born 1917, Joseph Feeney born 1920, Edmund Feeney born 1927 and 2 others (details unknown)

In 1939 the family lived at 131 Balmoral Road Watford.

(6) Sgt. Geoffrey North was born in 1924 at Headington, Buckinghamshire the son of Eric Philip North (a Traveller for a Cement Company) and Bella Mary North nee Berry, of Herne Bay, Kent. He had two siblings - details unknown.

In 1939 the family lived at 138 Spencer Road, Herne Bay.

(7) Sgt. Alexander McKeeman is thought to be Scottish born 1923/24 but nothing further known. If you have any information please contact our helpdesk.

(8) F/O. George Lewis Spofford was born on 17 February 1919 the only child of Lewis Arthur Spofford (Soldier - Canadian Army - Active) and Beulah Lil(l)ian Spofford nee Bond 307 Gerrard Street East Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

He was educated at Dufferin School, Toronto (1925-1933) and Jarvis Collegiate Institute, Toronto (1933-1936). After leaving school he was employed by General Steel Wares Ltd Toronto as an Office Clerk (Pricer on Orders and Operator on Calculating Machine).

When he enlisted at Toronto on 11 March 1941 he was 5'8½"tall weighing 130lbs.

After training at 4 Wireless School at RCAF Guelph, Ontario and 1 Bombing and Gunnery School at RCAF Jarvis, Ontario he was awarded his Air Gunner Badge and promoted to Sergeant on 11 May 1942. On the same date he was also commissioned as a Pilot Officer.

On arrival in the UK he was posted to 3 Personnel and Reception Centre at Bournemouth and on 24 July 1942 to 10 (observer) Advanced Flying Unit at RAF Dumfries in Scotland. On 22 September he was posted to 14 Operational Flying Unit at RAF Cottesmore in Rutland and on 14 January 1943 to 1657 Conversion Unit at RAF Stradishall in Suffolk. He was posted to 90 Squadron on 26 February 1943 and to 101 Squadron at Ludford Magna, Lincolnshire on 24 July 1943.

His promotion to Flying Officer was on 11 November 1942 and he was promoted to Flight Lieutenant whilst a prisoner of war on 11 May 1944.

(9) Major Wilhelm Herget was born on 30 June 1910 at Stuttgart.

He was credited with 73 victories. He was shot down by US flak during a transit flight in a Fi156 on 2 May 1945 and became a prisoner of war.

He died on 27 March 1974 aged 64.


Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Knights Cross of the Iron Cross) 20 June 1943

Ehrenpokal der Luftwaffe (Honor Goblet of the Luftwaffe)

Kriegsorden des Deutschen Kreuzes in Gold (German Cross in Gold) 16 February 1942

Eisernes Kreuz (Iron Cross) Class 1 and 2

Night Fighter Operational Clasp with Pendant


(1) Fl/Sgt. James Gordon Bennett was originally buried at Heuchelheim Cemetery and on 27 January 1950 was re-interred at Durnbach War Cemetery - Coll. grave 11. C. 26-28.

No epitaph

(2) Sgt. Ronald William Hodgson was originally buried at Heuchelheim Cemetery and on 27 January 1950 was re-interred at Durnbach War Cemetery - Coll. grave 11. C. 26-28.

His epitaph reads:

Ronald. In loving memory.

To live in the hearts

Of those we love

Is not to die

(3) Fl/Lt. Francis George Tims Collins was originally buried at Heuchelheim Cemetery and on 27 January 1950 was re-interred at Durnbach War Cemetery - Coll. grave 11. C. 26-28.

His epitaph reads:

"With the wings of a bird

And the heart of a man

He compass'd his flight"

(4) Fl/Sgt. Michael Joseph Kennedy was originally buried at Heuchelheim Cemetery and on 27 January 1950 was re-interred at Durnbach War Cemetery - Grave 11.C.25

No epitaph

(5) Sgt. Herbert Feeney was originally buried at Heuchelheim Cemetery and on 27 January 1950 was re-interred at Durnbach War Cemetery - Coll. grave 11. C. 26-28.

His epitaph reads:

A model son,

Greatly missed.


(6) Sgt George North was originally buried at Heuchelheim Cemetery and on 27 January 1950 was re-interred at Durnbach War Cemetery - Coll. grave 11. C. 26-28.

No epitaph

(8) F/O. George Lewis Spofford was originally buried at Barth Cemetery and later re-interred at the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery - Grave 8.L.20

No epitaph

Researched by Aircrew Remembered researcher Roy Wilcock for all the relatives and friends of the members of this crew - August 2020. Page sponsored by Bennett family - December 2020

With thanks to the sources quoted below.

RW 28.08.2020

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
Concept of Colonial Discrimination  •  Unauthorised First Long Range Mustang Attack
RAAF Bomb Aimer Evades with Maquis •  SOE Heroine Nancy Wake •  Fane: Motor Racing PRU Legend
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.
Click any image to enlarge it

Click to add your info via ticket on Helpdesk •Click to let us know via ticket on Helpdesk• Click to buy research books from Amazon •Click to explore the entire site
If you would like to comment on this page, please do so via our Helpdesk. Use the Submit a Ticket option to send your comments. After review, our Editors will publish your comment below with your first name, but not your email address.

A word from the Editor: your contribution is important. We welcome your comments and information. Thanks in advance.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon
All site material (except as noted elsewhere) is owned or managed by Aircrew Remembered and should not be used without prior permission.
© Aircrew Remembered 2012 - 2022
Last Modified: 05 September 2021, 11:01

Monitor Additions/Changes?Click to be informed of changes to this page. Create account for first monitor only, thereafter very fast. Click to close without creating monitor