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Noel 'Broody' Benson - one of three 603 pilots shot down on their first day of action in 11 Group

Noel John Victor Benson was born on 11th December 1918 at Great Ouseburn, Yorkshire, his family lived in the village and his father was a much respected GP in the area.

In 2000 a former next door neighbour recalled Noel Benson as "a quiet boy, very intelligent. He and his brother Brian built a boat and sailed on the Ouse, they named it I Made Her. (Noel) was a happy young man."

Noel attended Sedbergh School. He entered the RAF College Cranwell on 28th April 1938 as a Flight Cadet.

After the outbreak of war Cranwell cadets who had not completed their courses were enlisted in the RAF on 7th September 1939 as Airmen u/t Pilots and each given an airman number.

Benson graduated at Cranwell on 23rd October with a Permanent Commission. He immediately went to 11 Group Fighter Pool, St. Athan, converted to Blenheims and joined 145 Squadron at Croydon on 30th October.

He joined 'A' Flight of 603 Squadron at Prestwick on 16th December 1939. Benson was still serving with 603 in July 1940. He became known as 'Broody' Benson on the squadron because of his habit of sitting deep in contemplation between sorties.

On the 23rd he shared in the destruction of a Do17. His Spitfire, N3229, was hit by return fire and his starboard undercarriage leg collapsed on landing and the aircraft tipped over.

On 27th August 603 went south to Hornchurch. On the following day Benson was shot down by Me109s in Spitfire N3105 and killed when he crashed in flames on Great Hay Farm, Leigh Green, Tenterden, Kent.

He was 21 and is buried in the extension to St. Marys churchyard, Great Ouseburn.

Photos and text courtesy of Battle of Britain Monument website

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