The Roll of Honour
Nationality:  New Zealander  
Rank:  Flying Office (Instructor)
Unit:  11 Operational Training Unit
Age at Death:  28
Date of Death:  16 September 1942
Service Number:  41302
Reference:  2 H 6
Military Awards:  1939-1945 Star; Aircrew Europe Star; War Medal 1939-1945; New Zealand War Medal

Victor was born on 8 May 1918 in Wanganui, New Zealand, the seventh of 11 children born to Percival and Agnes Benefield (nee Murphy). His grandparents, William and Esther Benefield, emigrated from England in 1874.

Born in Wanganui on 8 May 1914, Entrance Exam. 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, 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 18 January 1941 at the Ground Training School, Levin and was posted on the 1 March to No 2 Elementary Flying Training School, New Plymouth, to commence his flying training. After completing this training he was posted on 12 April to No 3 Service Flying Training School in Ohakea. While there, on 24 May, he was awarded his flying badge and on 5 July was commissioned as a Pilot Officer. On 22 July 1941 he embarked for the United Kingdom and it was while there that he was promoted to the rank of Flying Officer on 5 July 1942.

Having arrived in England on 2 September 1941, Flying Officer Benefield reported to No 3 Personnel Reception Centre, Bournemouth, and was posted on 16 September to No 11 Operational Training Unit, Bassingbourn, Hertfordshire, to crew-up and complete his training on Wellington bomber aircraft. While with this unit he commenced operational flying, his targets including Dusseldorf, Bremen and Essen.

From this last-mentioned operation against the target of Essen, undertaken in a Wellington bomber on 16 September 1942, the aircraft failed to return to its base and all its crew – including Flying Officer Benefield – were classified as missing.

After due time had elapsed, Flying Officer Benefield’s death was officially presumed to have occurred on the 16 September 1942 as the result of air operations.

Victor had flown a total of 595 hours as a pilot.

Victor and Clifton Benefield were 1st cousins.


(Information supplied by Barbara Benefield and Archives New Zealand (Defence Forces)


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