Pilot Officer Leslie Benson -  49 Squadron  
   

Pilot Officer Leslie Bernard Benson  - RAFVR

 

 Pilot Officer Leslie Benson was serving as Navigator on board Lancaster Mk.I LL900 coded EA-T during an operation to bomb  Wesseling on the night June 21/22 1944. The aircraft left Fiskerton at 2317hrs and was shot by a night fighter.  It crashed in the general area of Julich-Mersch, killing the entire crew. 

The crew consisted of:

Name

Service

Trade

Hometown

Age

W/C Malcolm Crocker DFC & Bar

RAFVR

Pilot

Boston, Mass. USA

27

F/L Albert Matthews,DFC

RAFVR

Flight Engineer

-

-

P/O Leslie Benson,DFM

RAFVR

Navigator

Harrogate, Yorkshire

24

F/O Kenneth Dutton

RAFVR

Bomb Aimer

-

-

F/O James Worthington,DFC

RAFVR

W/Op/AG

Southport, Lancs.

30

P/O Allan Creighton,DFC

RCAF

M/U Gunner

Vancouver, B.C

26

P/O David Carr,DFM

RAFVR

Rear Gunner

-

-

Mr Kent Stevenson

Civilian

BBC Correspondent

Winnipeg, Manitoba

-

 

 Pilot Officer Leslie Bernard Benson was the son of George and Ada Alice Benson of 43 Strawberry Dale Avenue, Harrogate, Yorkshire. He was educated at Harrogate Grammar school and before enlisting worked in the Harrogate Borough Councils Treasurers Office. He is remembered on the roll of honour for Harrogate Council. 

 He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal on the 25th January 1944(gazetted on the 21st June 1944). He had flown 28 sorties with 172.40 flying hours, his citation reads:

"This N.C.O. has carried out 28 well executed operational sorties over the most heavily defended parts of enemy territory. He has flown as Navigator with experienced and inexperienced captain alike. His ability, courage and determination have often been of the greatest help to the captain in carrying out a difficult task. He has always been keen to help the new man and has never hesitated to carry out the last detail to any duty assigned to him. I recommend that Flight Sergeant Benson be awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal."

 On the night of the Wesseling op a civilian was on board,  Mr Kent Stevenson, a British Broadcast Correspondent who joined the BBC in 1941, he also lost his life in the crash. The crew were buried at Julich-Welldorf before being re-interred and laid to rest in Rheinberg War cemetery. It is thought that P/O Creighton had previously served in 619 squadron. This Lancaster was one of 6 losses suffered by 49 squadron on that night.

Photo courtesy of Diane Walker, research by Linda Ibrom.