Ben Bennions DFC

Ben Bennions DFC

Battle of Britain Fighter Ace

Nick Thomas

 
Publication date:
February 2012
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Language:
English
No associated books available.

Overview
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Ben Bennion enlisted in the pre-war RAF, serving first as an 'erk' (ground crew) before being selected for pilot training. His first posting led to service in the Middle-East and Bennion's passport and other travel documents had to be rushed through. A clerical error led to his name being recorded as 'Bennions'.

Ben served in 41 Squadron and following their overseas tour he returned to the UK and Catterick. Patrols and scrambles were common throughout the early months of the war, but it was in May 1940, that 41 Squadron first saw the enemy in any number, providing air cover for the retreating BEF. The Dunkirk operations saw Bennions record his first combat victory - he was to damage or destroy 20 plus enemy aircraft during the following months, earning the DFC and becoming one of the RAF's top scorers. The squadron alternated between Catterick and Hornchurch, and although Bennions was afforded some rest between operational periods, the front-line the sorties came thick and fast, particularly during the latter phases of the Battle of Britain when Bennions was flying several patrols and scramble every day. His tally grew steadily.

His much deserved DFC was promulgated on 1 October 1940, the day he was due to begin a short period of leave. However he decided to have one last crack at the enemy and during this engagement, adding another Messerschmitt BF 109 to his total, he was hit and forced to bale out. Badly wounded in the head, Bennions lost an eye and became a member of Sir Archibald McIndoe's famous Guinea Pig Club.