W.1

 Flight Captain

 

Philippa Mary Bennett 

flag england

b. 22 Nov 1919, Birmingham  26 Jun-40 to Nov-45 

  

Philippa Bennett 1937  RAeC 1 Jun 1937 (age 17)

     

 

Father: Capt. Philip Dennis Bennett (5th Bn, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, an architect, m. 17 Aug 1915, d. 24 Feb 1919 from influenza)

Philippa was born 9 months after her father died.

Mother: Doris Mary [Lowe, m. 1922 Ian Forbes Panton, he d. 1935]

Philippa's elder brother Dennis Labron Bennett was b. 20 Nov 1917, BA (Cantab), d. 25 Oct 1942 at El Alamein

Ed. Westonbirt School, Glos

Address in 1937: Ash Cottage, Harlington, Hayes, Middx

She was engaged to Francis Richard Bevan, RASC (previously a 'Mountie' with the RCMP) in May 1940.


 Postings: 5FPP, 15FPP

Class 5 (4-engine) pilot

 

7 accidents, 3 her fault:

- 7 Sep 1941, in Hurricane W9124 at Hatfield, she collided with a Tiger Moth due to 'gross carelessness'

- 20 Oct 1941, she failed to control the landing swing of Tomahawk AH808, and ground-looped (at Colerne)

- 18 Nov 1941, a forced landing in Anson R3340 after port engine failure

- 20 May 1942, she taxied Anson AX537 into a narrow parking space, ignoring the signal made by a member of the ground crew, and the tail hit a starter trolley

- 9 Sep 1943, a forced landing in Halifax II BB135, after a battery exploded

- 28 Oct 1944, another forced landing, this time in Walrus I W3008 after she lost all brake pressure

- 8 Jun 1945, a fourth forced landing, in Barracuda II DR202 when she noticed the batteries were overheating (due to incorrect voltage adjustment).

  

Commended for "valuable service in the air", 14 Jun 1945


 Philippa Bennett 1946  RAeC

26 March 1946: "26-year-old Miss Philippa Bennett has been flying planes ever since she was 17. For 5 and a half years she flew with the Air Transport Auxiliary service, when she piloted all types of planes from 4-engined bombers to Spitfires. She got her B Licence in 1938. Now she is proposing to make a business out of what was her hobby and her war work; she has bought two high wing monoplanes with which she is starting her own air taxi service at Southampton Airport. She hopes to specialise in aerial photographic work.

Photo Shows: Miss Phillippa Bennett in her taxi monoplane at Southampton Airport"

 The three aircraft Philippa eventually owned included the Foster Wikner Wicko GM1s G-AFJB and G-AGPE (the latter used for spares)

  http://www.wicko.com/wickohistory.htm

"When Geoffrey Wickner purchased a surplus Halifax bomber with the intention of returning to Australia he sold the Wicko to Philippa Bennett who used the aircraft in her air taxi service again out of Eastleigh. During that time the machine was extensively damaged in a forced landing, caused by bad weather when it ran over the edge of a cliff, fortunately without injury to the occupants. After repair the aircraft was sold but again was registered to Philippa and Lettice Curtis who raced the aircraft at a number of events under the race number 39. The handicappers were unkind to the Wicko and her pilot and the aircraft was not too well placed at any event. "

"Although exciting and fulfilling, it was not a financially viable enterprise"

 

m. Jul 1947 in Winchester, Wing Commander Maurice Booth DFC (3 sons)

"She later settled in the village of Durrington in Wiltshire where she owned and ran the village shop" - The Telegraph

 

d. 24 May 2007 - Salisbury

 

 

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