Albert William Bennett R.A.F.
Born Birmingham on 11 May 1897, lived and bought up at number 35 Lightwoods Road, Bearwood. He went to school at George Dixon, City Road, Edgbaston. He joined the colours 28 August 1914.
After leaving the Royal Air Force he was married to Marjorie the widow of Lieutenant A. Potter who had been killed in action in the war.
After demobilisation he bought a house in Maidstone, Kent and went back into business in the chemical industry. He took up Aero modelling and later making and racing model cars. He held the world record of 142 m.p.h. at a race track built at Mote Park, Maidstone.
I visited his old house at 35 Lightwoods Road to see if anyone remembered the Bennett family. Fortunately at the house next door the gentleman there gave me the phone numbers of two nieces, one of them whom I visited, Miss Susan Bourne, had the same photograph of her uncle that I had. She also had a photograph album with the small sepia photo's that she kindly let me have. They are in this file along with the blown up copies.
When he and his wife had died the medals and effects of Albert were passed on to his wife's sister, it was her husband who disposed of them. Everything was at first offered to the RAF Museum but all they wanted was the documentation. This included his log book, training notes, pay book, Brigade transfer documents, etc. They did not want his medals, these with the remainder of his effects were sold to Formans of Piccadilly. The money realised from this was donated to the Star and Garter Hospital for limbless ex-servicemen in Richmond.
The hobby of racing Pylon or Tethered cars was popular in America during the 1930's but spread to England during the War. By the end of the war, tethered car racing in the UK had become enormously popular. Groups of enthusiasts formed clubs and racing took place in hangars, works canteens, garages and on purpose built tracks.
A British Pathe News video clip shows Albert William (Bill) Bennett wearing the bobble hat, preparing a model racing car for a run. The wheels are warmed up on a grindstone, then Bill carries the car to a special track surrounded by a wire fence. Commentator says "This is an American idea called cable racing.... because the cars go so fast they have to be tethered". Bill fixes the car to a cable coming from the centre of the track, then runs off, pushing the car with a pole to start the ignition.
Click the picture to watch the video clip.
|August 28th 1914||Joined the Colours|
|September 11th 1914||Posted to the 14th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment.|
|November 22nd 1915||Proceeded to France on active service with Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
Saw service on the Ypres, Arras, Somme and Festubert fronts.
Took part in the Somme offensive.
|February 22nd 1917||Returned to England for a commission.|
|February 22nd to
April 7th 1917
|Stationed at Royal Warwickshire Regiment Depot Warwick.|
|April 7th 1917||Posted to Gailes 9th O.C. Battalion for training.|
|May 24th 1917||Posted to R.F.C. Reading for training in Aeronautics.|
|July 12th 1917||Gazetted 2nd Lieutenant and sent to Thetford for training in practical flying.|
|September 1st 1917||Posted to Narborough for higher training in flying.|
|January 30th 1918||Posted to Winchester for Pilot's overseas artillery observation course.|
|February 20th 1918||Posted to B.E.F. (France) to No 10 Squadron.|
|October 1st 1918||Wounded while taking photographs 20 miles over enemy lines, observer's leg shot off.
(See form W3347 - R.F.C. casualties report following this table.)
Also, Picture by Geoff Bell. - Bristol Fighter against 16 Fokkers.(83kb)
(Photograph by Simon Clay of Bournemouth)
|October 12th 1918||Sent to hospital in England (London Hospital)|
|November 11th 1918||Posted to Pilot's Ferry Pool in Orchard Hotel London.|
|February 10th 1919||Posted to Yeovil as Test Pilot to Petters Ltd., (Westland Aircraft Co.,)|
|March 20th 1919||Flying accident, crash landed, sustained fractured skull, (slight).
Sent to hospital and later on indefinite leave pending demobilisation.
|May 28th 1919||Demobilised.|
( I have reproduced this form with a layout and style as close to original as possible. )
Copy of Army Form W 3347 Royal Flying Corps Report on casualties to personnel, and machines (when flying).