LEST WE FORGET

Air Commodore Benjamin James SILLY MC DFC

From Australia serving in the Royal Air Force

Commanding Officer, No. 55 Squadron RAF, 1918

Service No: No Service Number for Officers of Air Rank
Born: Burwood NSW, 28 May 1893
Enlisted in the RAF: Date Unavailable
Appointment: Senior Air Staff Officer RAF Headquarters Far East (1939-1942) / Deputy Air Officer Commanding RAF Sumatra (1942)
Awarded the Military Cross (MC) 4 March 1918 (Royal Flying Corps Service)
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Died: Prisoner of War: Hong Kong, 7 December 1943, Aged 50 Years
Buried: Sai Wan War Cemetery, Hong Kong
CWGC Additional Information: Son of George and Lucy Silly; husband of Frances Fanny Silly, of Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Commemorative Roll, Australian War Memorial, Canberra

In February 1942, Air Commodore Silly was sent to Batavia to set up a rear base for the reception of equipment and personnel evacuated from Singapore. Over 12,000 mostly RAF servicemen were moved to Java at the time and many were not evacuated and were forced to surrender to advancing Japanese forces in mid-March 1942. This included over 160 members of No. 1 Squadron RAAF which represented the largest number of RAAF personnel taken prisoner at one time and was also one of the few occasions when RAAF members were taken prisoner as the result of ground operations.

References:

Australian War Memorial Commemorative Roll On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records

Bibliography:

Gillison, D.N. (Douglas Napier) (254475) Royal Australian Air Force 1939-1942, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1962
Hall, E.R. (Eldred Rayner) (O3341) Glory in Chaos, Sembawang Association West Coburg VIC, 1989