LEST WE FORGET

Sergeant Sydney William BENSON

Service No: 402499
Born: Sydney NSW, 24 April 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 16 September 1940
Unit: No. 233 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station St Eval
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 233 Squadron Hudson aircraft AM535), Cornwall, 8 March 1942, Aged 19 Years
Buried: St Columb Major Cemetery, Cornwall
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Morton William and Mary Benson, of North Bondi, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Bondi NSW
Remembered: Panel 118, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

On 8 March 1942 Hudson AM535 took off from St Eval detailed to carry out three circuits and landings. After a normal take off at 2300 hours, the aircraft turned down wind in a normal manner at about 800 feet, and then appeared to be losing height gradually and as the aircraft turned across wind on its approach the aircraft was observed to be under shooting badly. The navigation lights of the aircraft then appeared in a steep left turn heading towards the aerodrome. The aircraft then appeared to climb and turn away from the aerodrome down wind, as the taillight was seen. Immediately after, the aircraft crashed and caught fire, three miles north of St Merryn aerodrome.

The crew members of AM535 were:

Sergeant Sydney William Benson (402499) (Second Pilot)
Sergeant Stanley Edwin Hyam (1205965) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator)
Sergeant William Wilfred Parr (1375471) (RAFVR) (Pilot)

In a report on the accident, the Group Captain RAF Station St Eval stated “it was considered the Pilot allowed his height to decrease before and during his turn across wind and undershooting. The strength of the wind was 20 mph. From the movement of the navigation lights it then appeared the Pilot realized he was very low and attempted to climb, but lost control and the aircraft struck the ground. It was probable that owing to his lack of height that he lost sight of the flare path. “

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 163/91/277