Roll of Honour ~ World War Two [1939-1945]
Below are listed details of the 11 men in The Willis Tree database who sacrificed their lives during the Second World War.
They are from the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The heading for each combatant shows the name, (Rank), dates of birth and death, and [age at death]. Click on a heading to read more details about the individual, including full military service details, biographical details, information relating to their memorial (including a photo of the memorial/gravestone), links to various Memorial websites and a portrait photograph (where one has been found). There is also a link to their record in the Willis Tree database.
[Note: this is an ongoing project which will be updated regularly as further research is done]
Born: 21 Jun 1918
Died: 25 Apr 1944
Rank: Flight Lieutenant (Navigator)
Royal New Zealand Air Force, 9 (R.A.F.) Squadron.
Service Number: 402463
Died aged 25
Took off at 21:07 on 24 April 1944 from Bardbey. Hit by Flak anti-aircraft gunfire and crashed at 01:57 on 25 April 1944 at Birkenhof between Pasing and Großhadern in the western suburbs of Munich.
Buried: Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany
He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross
Son of Robert John and Winifred Benefield, of Wanganui, Wellington, New Zealand.
Born: 8 May 1914, the son of Percival and Agnes Frances Benefield, of Wanganui, New Zealand.
Rank: Flying Officer (Instructor)
Royal New Zealand Air Force
Service Number: 41302
Died: 16 Sep 1942, aged 28.
Buried at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.
Born in Wanganui on 8th May 1914, Victor Benefield received his secondary education at Wanganui Technical College where he passed the Public Service Entrance Examination. He subsequently furthered his studies by taking a commercial course with a correspondence college. His sports were rowing, tennis, and rugby in which latter game he was a member of his school’s First Fifteen. His civilian occupation was that of cashier and shipping clerk with J H Cook & Co Ltd in Wanganui. In February 1940 he applied for war service in the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
Flying Officer Benefield was enlisted for Air Crew training on the 18th January 1941 at the Ground Training School, Levin and was posted on the 1st March to No 2 Elementary Flying Training School, New Plymouth, to commence his flying training.
After completing this training he was posted on 12th April to No 3 Service Flying Training Scholl in Ohakea. While here, on 24th May, he was awarded his flying badge and on 5th July was commissioned as a Pilot Officer. Later, when in England, on 5th July 1942 he was promoted to Flying Officer. Meanwhilem on 22nd July 1941 he had embarked for the United Kingdom.
Having arrived in England on 2nd September 1941, Flying Officer Benefield reported to No 3 Personnel Reception Centre, Bournemouth, and was posted on 16th September to No 11 Operational Training Unit in Bassingbourn, Hertfordshire, to crew-up and complete his training on Wellington bomber aircraft. While with this unit he commenced operational flying, his targets including Dusseldorfm Bremen and Essen.
Flying Officer Benefield took off at 20:12 on 16th September 1942 from Bassingbourne using the call sign 5CUL. Coned by searchlights at 10,000 feet and shot down by Flak to crash near Duisburg.
After due time had elapsed, Flying Officer Benefield’s death was officially presumed to have occurred on 16th September 1942 as a result of air operations.
Born 1925, son of Norman L. Campbell and M. Goldie Campbell, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Royal Canadian Air Force, 426 (Thunderbird) Squadron.
Service Number: J/94333
Died 9 Feb 1940, aged 20
The final operation was to attack an oil refinery at Wanne-Eickel in Germany. 228 aircraft flew, with 2 losses. There was scattered bombing with only minor damage to the plant. James lost his life because starboard outer engine caught fire not long after takeoff from RAF Linton-on-Ouse in North Yorkshire. The aircraft lost height before the bombs could be jettisoned and crash-landed near Wetherby, Yorkshire and exploded.
Commemorated at Harrogate (Stowfall) Cemetery, Yorkshire ,UK (Sec. H. Row F. Grave 14)
The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment), 2nd Battalion.
Service Number: 6288917
Died: 6 Nov 1942 aged 23
Born and resided Kent. Son of John R. and Edith F. Gillman of Dover, Kent.
Buried: El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt. Grave Ref: XIX. E. 14.
Born: 20 Oct 1915
Royal Artillery, 114 Field Regiment.
Service Number: 894179
Died 21 Apr 1944, aged 28
Commemorated on Rangoon Memorial (Face 2). Myanmar
Son of Ernest and Eliza Rose Hayesmore; husband of Violet. M. Hayesmore, of Hastings, Sussex.
Born: 10 March 1920
Son of John William and Alice Louisa Hogben (nee Willis), of Dover, Kent.
Rank: Stoker 1st Class
Royal Navy, H.M.S. ‘Imogen’
Service Number: C/KX 93531
Died: 16 Jul 1940, aged 20
Commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial, United Kingdom
On July 16th 1940 HMS Imogen was in collision with HM Cruiser Glasgow in thick fog off Duncansby Head, Scotland. Extensive damage was caused and fires started which forced abandonment of ship. The surviving ship’s company were rescued by the Glasgow. The Imogen was abandoned about 5 nautical miles south-east of Duncansby Head, Scotland and sank in position 58º34’N, 02º54’W.
Sadly John was one of the fatalities – he was just 20 years old. He is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial in Kent.
Rank: Chief Engineer Officer
Merchant Navy, S.S. ‘Maid of Kent’ (London)
Died: 21 May, 1940, aged 56
Husband of Elizabeth Amelia Hopper, of Dover.
Commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London (Panel 66).
Rank: Sergeant (Air Gunner)
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 61 Squadron.
Service Number: 1234174
Died: 31 March 1944, aged 23
Buried: Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium (Coll. grave 2. B. 3-7.)
Son of Edwin Frank and Miriam B. Nutley, of Earlsfield, London
Details: Basil was onboard an Avro Lancaster aircraft which took off from RAF Coningsby at 22:07 hrs on 30 March 1944, detailed to attack targets in Nurnberg. Homebound, while flying north the aircraft was intercepted by night fighter Ju88 flown by Major Rudolf Schoenert of NJG10, crashing at Namur. [Other source material claim that Lt Fred Hromadnik of 9./NJG4 claimed this loss at 0416 hrs 3.5 km North East of Namur.]
Rank: Flying Officer
Royal New Zealand Air Force, 214 F.M.S. (Federated Malay States) Squadron.
Service Number: 402063
Died 15 Jan 1943 aged 21
Commemorated on Panel 197 of the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, United Kingdom
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- New Zealand War Graves Project
- RAF Commands War Dead Database
- Auckland Museum Online Cenotaph
- International Bomber Command Losses Database
Born: 30 Nov 1908
Merchant Navy, Cable Ship “Alert” (United Kingdom)
Died:24 Feb 1945, aged 36
Commemorated: Tower Hill Memorial, London (Panel 5)
The full account of William’s death is recounted in the Story section.
Born: 1920 in Barham, Kent
Royal Air Force, 48 Squadron.
Service Number: 568341
Died: 31 July 1940, aged 20
Son of Archibald Frank and Nellie Ward Willis, of Chelsea, London.
Buried in the New Churchyard, St Mary’s, Carew, Tenby, Dyfed, Wales
The full account of William’s death is recounted in the Story section