Ben Bennions DFC: Battle of Britain Fighter Ace

Ben Bennions DFC: Battle of Britain Fighter Ace

by Nick Thomas


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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.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781848841451
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Publication date: 03/14/2012
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Nick Thomas is a former archaeologist and finds expert. He currently works as Collections Officer for a local authority having been manager of the ground-breaking Stafford Castle Visitor Centre and Museum with which he has a 25 year association.

Nick has contributed history articles for a number of archaeological journals and the local press, while finding time to work on many of the ‘digs’ in his home town. His previous biographies include RAF Top Gun, the story of Teddy Donaldson.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vii

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 A Burslem Boy 4

Chapter 2 Born to Fly 7

Chapter 3 The Road to War 17

Chapter 4 The So-called 'Phoney' War 30

Chapter 5 Blitzkrieg 58

Chapter 6 Hornchurch Operations 67

Chapter 7 Return to No. 13 Group 82

Chapter 8 Into Battle 98

Chapter 9 The Decimation of Luftflotte 5 115

Chapter 10 The Battle Continues 131

Chapter 11 More Combat and Losses 135

Chapter 12 A Decisive Battle 162

Chapter 13 The Battle Rages On 169

Chapter 14 Against All Odds 193

Chapter 15 An Appointment at the Palace 199

Chapter 16 The Long Road Back 207

Chapter 17 Post-War Years 212

Appendix 1 Directive No. 2 for the Conduct of the War 226

Appendix 2 Directive No. 6 for the Conduct of the War 228

Appendix 3 Directive No. 13 for the Conduct of the War 230

Appendix 4 Constitution of the Guinea Pig Club 232

Appendix 5 'Inspiration' 233

Appendix 6 Bennions' favourite quote from Shakespeare's As You Like It 234

Bibliography 235

Index 237

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