Corporal Reginald Edwin Bennett

 

Unit : No.12 Platoon, "B" Company, 2nd Battalion The South Staffordshire Regiment

Army No. : 4927193

 

Corporal Bennett was aboard a Horsa glider, chalk no.298, when turbulence forced it and the tug out of formation, and the port yoke of the slackened tow rope became wrapped around the port wing tip. This was severed when the slack was taken up, and very briefly they continued on just the starboard yoke, but a strand of this was cut by flak and the glider was cast-off, making a successful landing in a potato field near Tilburg, in the south of Holland. The following is Bennett's M.I.9 evasion report, jointly given with 6408485 Private Albert William James Baker and 14340278 Private Norman Charles Price, also of No.12 Platoon.

 

Left : Brussels, 27 Oct 44.

Arrived : U.K., 27 Oct 44.

 

We took off from Manston in a glider aircraft at 1030 hours on 17 Sep 44. Our destination was Arnhem. About 15 miles North of Tilburg the tow rope broke and we were forced to make a landing near Loop-op-Zand (N.W. Europe, 1:250,000, Sheet 2a, E 14). There were no casualties and as soon as we landed we were contacted by members of the underground movement who moved the whole platoon to an island on the River Maas.

 

We hid on the island for three days, after which we were taken by night to some woods near Sprang (E 14) where we met some more evaders, including 15 Americans. The next night (about 21 Sep) the whole party was moved, the Americans being sent to Drunen (E 24), while we went to Elshout (E 14) where we stayed in a mental institution. About five days later the party from Drunen joined us here.

 

At the beginning of October part of the Luftwaffe Headquarters were moved to Elshout, and the Germans began looking for billets. We put up a notice that our part of the building was out of bounds owing to diphtheria. This had the desired effect of keeping the Germans away, but they insisted upon making use of the kitchen which was also used by ourselves.

 

About 5 Oct we were forced to move, as our hosts were becoming nervous of our presence. We left by night and went to the woods near Giersbergen (E 14) where we remained for several days. About 10 Oct Sgt Cutforth and Pte Tams, of our party, went out on patrol and made contact with more Allied evaders and the same night we joined them at a point 3 miles West of Boxtel (E 33). On 24 Oct we sent out a reconnaissance party who brought back six German prisoners: we were also joined by several deserters from the German army. The same night we made our way to Boxtel and found that the Germans had withdrawn. We put our prisoners into the town gaol and spent the night in the town hall.

 

The next day a British reconnaissance party entered the town and sent most of our platoon back behind the Allied lines. We got separated from the others and were sent to rear Divisional Headquarters in other transport. From here we went to Eindhoven and then to Brussels.

 

We left Brussels on 27 Oct and arrived in the U.K. the same day.

 

Corporal Bennett

Date of Birth : 4 Dec 22.

Army Service : Since 17 Jul 41.

Peacetime Profession : Bank Clerk.

Private Address : 1, Victoria Place, Penkjull, Stoke-on-Trent.

 

Private Baker

Date of Birth : 4 Oct 22.

Army Service : Since 19 Oct 40.

Peacetime Profession : Butcher.

Private Address : 37 Mendip Road, Durnington, Worthing, Sussex.

 

Private Price

Date of Birth : 15 Apr 24.

Army Service : Since 19 Nov 42.

Peacetime Profession : Plumber.

Private Address : Rose Cottage Road, Bayston Hill, Shrewsbury.

 

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