Captain William Frank Eardsley Bennett


Unit : Headquarters, 5th Parachute Brigade

Army No. : 153136

Awards : Military Cross


Captain Bennett was Staff Captain of the 5th Parachute Brigade throughout the period from 6th June 1944 to 2nd May 1945.


He jumped into Normandy with the Brigade on the night of 5/6th June 1944. Shortly after landing the Deputy Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General became a casualty and Captain Bennett took over his duties. Throughout the severe defensive fighting East of the River Orne near Caen, Captain Bennett set the finest example to all ranks of devotion to duty and gallantry. He never spared himself during the heaviest bombardments and was constantly in the forward positions checking up on the ammunition supply and administrative arrangements.


During the advance to the Seine he was again acting as Deputy Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General. The shortage of transport and the speed of the advance required a great deal of improvisation. Captain Bennett organised the supply arrangements with great skill and his work played an important part in the success of the Brigade's advance.


During the airborne operations for crossing the Rhine on 24th March 1945 Captain Bennett again landed by parachute. The Deputy Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General became a casualty during the landing and once more Captain Bennett had to take over his duties. The Brigade Major and a number of other officers had also become casualties and a large part of the task of rallying the Brigade Headquarters personnel fell to Captain Bennett. His gallantry and fine leadership quickly achieved this and he played a vital part in the speedy establishment of Brigade Headquarters.


During the rapid advance from the Rhine to the Elbe, Captain Bennett continued his fine work. He never spared himself from danger or fatigue.


His constant cheerfulness and his energy and resourcefulness at overcoming all difficulties was an inspiration to those who worked with him.


Captain Bennett throughout the campaign in Normandy, the Ardennes and Germany made an outstanding contribution to the success of the 5th Parachute Brigade. I recommend him for an award of the Military Cross.


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