The Airmen's Stories - P/O C C Bennett
Clarence Charles Bennett was born at Mallala, South Australia on 28th November 1916. He was educated at Kapunda High School and afterwards was employed by the railways as a junior clerk.
He was interested in flying and in 1936 joined the Adelaide Gliding Club. He took flying lessons at Mount Gambier in 1937. After applying for a RAF short service commission, Bennett was accepted in December 1938. He sailed for England on 2nd February 1939.
With flying training completed, he joined 248 Squadron on 6th November 1939, when it was reformed at Hendon operating Blenheims. It was then a fighter squadron but in February 1940 was transferred to Coastal Command. For a period during the Battle of Britain 248 was seconded to Fighter Command for long-range fighter and reconnaissance duties.
Above: Bennett points to a gash made by a bullet in the Do18 action.
On 28th September Bennett engaged and damaged a Do18 flying boat over the North Sea. His aircraft was hit by return fire and Bennett and his observer, Sgt. GB Brash, were slightly wounded. With fuel tank damaged, Bennett headed rapidly for home. It transpired that the enemy aircraft landed on the sea and was abandoned by its crew before it sank.
Bennett failed to return from a reconnissance operation to the Norwegian coast on 1st October 1940 in Blenheim R3626. He and his crew, Sergeants Brash and GS Clarke were reported 'Missing'.
All three men are remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, Bennett on Panel 7, Brash and Clarke on Panel 12.
Above image courtesy of Dean Sumner