Sergeant William Bennett - 99 Squadron  
   
 

Sergeant William Bennett - RAFVR

 On the 21st of June 1941,Wellington IC X9643 crashed two miles short of Waterbeach Airfield in Cambridgeshire during an Air Test, bursting into flames with a loss of all the crew. The accident was caused by the dinghy breaking loose and fouling the elevators leading to a loss of control of the aircraft.

 The crew consisted of:

Name

Service

Hometown

Age

F/O Alistair Allen

RAFVR

Aberdeenshire, Scotland

24

P/O Francis Rendell

RAFVR

Wandsworth

29

Sgt William Bennett

RAF

Burnley,Lancs.

22

Sgt John Stewart

RAFVR

West Hampstead

22

Sgt William Lewis

RAFVR

Stourbridge

26

Corporal Charles Eva

RAF

-

-

 Sergeant William Bennett RAFVR (975748) known as "Billy" was the son of William and Phoebe Bennett of 31,Constable Road,Burnley, Lancashire. Born in 1919 "Billy" attended St.Mary’s Roman Catholic School before proceeding to St.Mary’s Central School. He represented the school at both cricket and football and also played for the town’s schoolboy teams. A clever snooker and billiards player, he won several medals in local competitions with St.Mary’s Reading Rooms teams and figured prominently in many other sporting activities. After leaving school he studied as an electrical engineering student at the Burnley Corporation Electricity department. He enlisted in the RAF in December 1939 and took part in many operations over enemy territory as a Wireless Operator/ Air Gunner.

William Bennett (left) and friends

 On his death certificate dated the 4th of July 1941,it states that the inquest was held on the 24th of June 1941 and that he received multiple injuries in the crash which claimed his life and the lives of the rest of the crew. He is buried in Burnley Cemetery. 

 It is believed that Corporal Eva was a member of the ground crew and was invited on this particular trip.

 

Photos courtesy of Christine Spencer & Imelda Broatch(sister), research by Linda Ibrom.