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Thread: Messrs Haarhoff & Bennett

  1. #1
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    Default Messrs Haarhoff & Bennett

    Flying Officer Hilton Aubrey Haarhoff DFC was an Air Gunner who, in 1940, was flying with Flt. Lt. Ronald Nicholas Selley in Hudsons. Selley was killed on 5 March 1941 and is remembered in Warriston Cemetery in Edinburgh. Both were, so far as I know, South Africans. Did Haarhoff survive the War? There is no mention of him on the Commonwealth War Graves Site.

    Pilot Officer Lloyd Bennett DFC also flew Hudsons but I don't know if he survived the war either. Again no reference on the War Graves site. Can anyone throw any light on either Haarhoff or Bennett or the circumstances of Selley's death?

    Here's hoping!

    Wee Gerry

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    Gerry,

    Found this on rafweb.org about the circumstances of Selley's detah:

    On 5 March 1941, he boarded Hudson N7315 in a ferry flight to Sumburgh from Leuchars and took off at 09:10. His pilot was Flt Lt Ronald Nicholas Selley DFC and the other crew members were Sgts S L J Wright and W F Shaw. En-route the aircraft suffered an engine failure and they attempted to force land near Wick, but the aircraft spun into the ground and caught fire, all on board being killed. AVM Breese was buried at sea.

    Regards,

    Leendert

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    Default

    Leendert

    Many thanks, I'm really grateful for that. I suppose I can probably take it that FO Haarhoff and Flt Lt Selley were no longer crew-mates at that time.

    Regards,

    Gerry

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    Default

    Hi Gerry
    From the look of the extract from rafweb.org it is possible that the A/G was simply left behind at base whilst the a/c was used to transport a Senior Officer to an outlying airfield. The "He" referred to as entering the Hudson is AVM Breese and the passage comes from a brief biography of Breese on the rafweb site.
    Regards
    Dick

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    Default

    Cheers, Dick

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    Default

    Apologies for replying to such an old thread but here's Lloyd Bennett's obit - he died in September. Not the best-written obit but might be of help/interest.

    http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/gloucestershireheadlines/Distinguished-bomber-pilot-dies/article-1373856-detail/article.html

    A distinguished RAF bomber pilot and well-known Cheltenham figure has died aged 98.
    Squadron Leader Lloyd Bennett passed away on Wednesday at Barrington Lodge Nursing Home, Charlton Kings.
    Born on the family fruit farm at Minsterworth, he was one of 10 children. He was educated at Sir Thomas Rich's School in Gloucester and although his mother hoped he would go into a bank, after a brief spell at Wheeler's seed merchants in Westgate Street, Gloucester, he joined the airforce.
    He began his career as a young apprentice clerk at the RAF Record Office at Ruislip in 1929. In 1930, he was posted to HMS Glorious, a prototype aircraft carrier converted from a destroyer, and during 1930 and 1931 cruised the Mediterranean in a training exercise to acquaint men and machines to the new techniques of landing on deck. During this time he took many photographs of the various difficulties encountered including several of planes and pilots ending up in the sea usually without significant injury!
    He worked his way up through the ranks and was commissioned as a flying officer in the late 1930s.
    During the war he was a pilot with Bomber Command, based for much of the time with 220 Squadron at Bircham Newton and Thornaby on Tees on the east coast. He flew raids in Wellingtons, Lancasters and Lockheed Hudsons. He was promoted to Squadron Leader in 1943 and was decorated, winning the Distinguished Flying Cross and later added a bar to the medal.
    As a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society he carried out regular weather surveys flying tiny wooden framed Mosquito aircraft prior to bombing raids. During one of these flights he took a iconic photograph of World War II entitled One of Our Bombers Is Missing recording the moment a Lancaster took a direct hit from anti aircraft fire. His log-book, which he kept meticulously, records his was among the aircraft patrolling above the beaches at Dunkirk in an attempt to see off the Luftwaffe during the evacuation of the British expeditionary force. He records in a typically understated remark: "bullet through port engine, returned home on starboard engine only".
    After the war from 1950 -52 he was an instructor at the prestigious Central Flying School (which taught Prince Phillip to fly) at RAF Little Rissington in Gloucestershire then went into Air Traffic Control. After his retirement from the RAF in 1961 he moved to Cheltenham and joined the staff of the National Westminster Bank Promenade branch, finally fulfilling his mother's ambition for him.
    It was his old fashioned courtesy that endeared him to many of the customers of the bank. During his stint in the bank he also took on the role of treasurer for the Cheltenham Rose Society, a post he held for many years.
    Riding an ancient "sit up and beg" bicycle, with his beloved Corgi, Toby in a basket on the front, he was a familiar sight around Leckhampton where he lived.
    He attended St. Philip and St. James Church, Cheltenham, and was a sidesman there.
    He married Alice Taylor, the sister of an RAF officer, in 1942 and they were married for 65 years until her death in 2007.
    Sqdn/Ldr Bennett is survived by his two daughters.

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    Default Squadron Leader Lloyd Bennett

    Andy,

    Cheers! Better late than never - I found myself retracing some earlier steps (2 years ago!) and am only too pleased that you took the time to log this info.

    Best wishes & thanks again,

    Gerry

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