BEBENSEE, Douglas Glenn Sergeant, No.35 Squadron, R68061 Distinguished Flying Medal RCAF Personnel Awards 1939-1949
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BEBENSEE, Sergeant Douglas Glenn (R68061) - Distinguished Flying Medal - No.35 Squadron - Awarded 31 May 1943 as per London Gazette dated 11 June 1943 and AFRO 1338/43 dated 16 July 1943 - Born in Bothwell, Ontario, 14 October 1921. Farmer and truck driver. Enlisted London, Ontario, 19 June 1940 as Aero Engine Mechanic. To Technical Training School, St. Thomas, 14 August 1940. Promoted AC1, 21 December 1940; to No.4 SFTS, 27 December 1940. To \"Y\" Depot, 2 January 1942; to RAF overseas, 7 January 1942. Taken on strength of No.3 PRC, Bournemouth, 21 January 1943. To No.415 Squadron, 31 January 1942. Promoted Corporal, 1 May 1943. Remustered to aircrew and trained posted to No.4 School of Technical Training, 16 September 1943. Reclassfied as Flight Engineer, 22 November 1943 with rank of Sergeant. To No.419 Squadron, 2 December 1943. To No.35 Squadron, 5 March 1943. Cited with P/O W.S. Sherk (Bar to DFC), F/O G.G. McGladrey (DFC) and F/O R.G. Morrison (DFC). Last sortie with unit was 26/27 April (Duisburg, uneventful). To No.405 Squadron, 5 July 1943. Killed in action 13/14 July 1943 (Halifax HR905); buried in Holland. Award presented to next of kin, 27 June 1945. One night in April 1943, Pilot Officer Sherk and Flying Officers McGladrey and Morrison and Sergeant Bebensee were pilot, wireless operator, navigator and flight engineer, respectively, in an aircraft which attacked Stettin. Whilst over the target area the bomber was struck by falling incendiary bombs. One of them which lodged behind the pilot\'s seat jammed the aileron and rudder controls. Flames and smoke rapidly filled the cockpit and Pilot Officer Sherk\'s clothing caught alight. The aircraft began to lose height diving steeply. Pilot Officer Sherk endeavoured to regain control whilst Flying Officer McGladrey attempted to subdue the flames. Meanwhile Sergeant Bebensee struggled to free the locked controls. Just as the situation appeared hopeless the pilot regained control and a course was set for home as Flying Officer McGladrey extinguished the fire. Much of the navigational equipment had been lost but Flying Officer Morrison, displaying great skill, was able to plot accurate courses. Sergeant Bebensee who worked untiringly for three-quarters of an hour succeeded in freeing the controls. Eventually Pilot Officer Sherk flew the badly damaged bomber back to this country in circumstances fraught with great danger displaying great courage, skill and determination. NOTE: Public Record Office Air 2/4974 has recommendation drafted 23 May 1943 when he had flown 19 sorties (119 operational hours). Sortie list and submission as follows: 16 January 1943 - Lorient 21 January 1943 - Gardening, Frisian Islands 23 January 1943 - Lorient 14 February 1943 - Cologne 16 February 1943 - Lorient 18 February 1943 - Wilhelmshaven 19 February 1943 - Wilhelmshaven 24 February 1943 - Wilhelmshaven 26 February 1943 - Cologne 28 February 1943 - St.Nazaire 1 March 1943 - Berlin 8 March 1943 - Nuremberg; bombs dropped but one-third of incendiaries hung up, rear turret was unserviceable for 45 minutes, and port inner engine failed 250 miles from base. 9 March 1943 - Munich; returned early with a faulty starboard engine 11 March 1943 - Stuttgart; bombed successfully; wings holed by flak 10 April 1943 - Frankfurt, uneventful 13 April 1943 - Spezia 16 April 1943 - Mannheim 20 April 1943 - Stettin - DFM event 26 April 1943 - Duisburg On the night of 20/21st April 1943, Sergeant Bebensee was Flight Engineer, taking part in the attack of Stettin. On the second bombing run over the target, incendiaries dropped from an aircraft above hit the aircraft, one falling through the pilot?s escape hatch and penetrating the Lorenz equipment behind the pilot?s seat, finally jamming the controls in such a way that the aircraft become uncontrollable in a 30 degree spiral dive. Flames and smoke filled the cockpit but Sergeant Bebensee removed parts of the burning incendiary from the control wires and attempted to free them. His efforts appeared to be of little avail and the captain ordered the crew to abandon aircraft. Almost immediately, however, control was partially regained by using the engines only, and the order to abandon the aircraft was cancelled. Attempts to free the controls were then resumed and after working for three-quarters of an hour with improvised tools the controls were released and the captain was able to regain normal control. Course was then set for base where a sae landing was made. Had it not been for his great tenacity and knowledge of his aircraft the pilot would have been unable to steer a sufficiently accurate course to return to this country, especially as 120 gallons of petrol had been lost through another incendiary piercing a tank, and in recognition of his fine services Sergeant Bebensee is recommended for the immediate award of the Distinguished Flying Medal. The website \"Lost Bombers\" has the following on his final sortie. Halifax HR905 (LQ-G) of No.405 Squadron, target Aachen, date 13/14 July 1943. The aircraft was airborne at 2315 hours, 13 July 1943 from Gransden Lodge. Shot down by a night- fighter and disintegrated near Asten (Noord Brabant), 9 km SE of Helmond, Holland. Crew described as S/L D.L. Wolfe, DFC (Canadian in the RAF, killed), F/O D.J.Smith, RNZAF, (POW), Sergeant t D.G.Bebensee DFM, RCAF (killed), F/O R.G.Morrison, DFC, RCAF (killed), Sergeant E.M.Witt, RCAF (killed), F/O G.G.McGladrey, DFC RCAF (killed), F/O D.M.Clarke, RCAF (POW), Flight Sergeant T.H.N.Emerson, DFM, RCAF (killed).