Benson, Sidney A., 2nd Lt

Fallen
 
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Last Rank
Second Lieutenant
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
M 1054-Co-Pilot, Four-Engine Aircraft
Last AFSC Group
USAAF
Primary Unit
1943-1944, M 1054, 493rd Bombardment Group, Heavy
Service Years
1943 - 1944
Second Lieutenant

 Last Photo   Personal Details 


Home State
New Jersey
New Jersey
Year of Birth
1922
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by CMSgt Don Skinner-Deceased to remember Benson, Sidney A., 2nd Lt.

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
 
Casualty Info
Home Town
Marblehead, MA
Last Address
Debach (Air Station 152) Suffolk, England

Casualty Date
Jun 29, 1944
 
Cause
Hostile, Died while Captured
Reason
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Location
Germany
Conflict
World War II
Location of Interment
Waterside Cemetery - Marblehead, Massachusetts
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

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World War II Fallen
  1944, World War II Fallen

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 Unit Assignments
US Air Force493rd Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1943-1944, 862nd Bombardment Squadron
  1943-1944, M 1054, 493rd Bombardment Group, Heavy
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1944-1944 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Rhineland Campaign (1944-45)
 Colleges Attended 
Duke University
  1941-1943, Duke University
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-24 Liberator  
  1944-2001, B-24 Liberator
 Additional Information

Last Known Activity
Sidney A. Benson was born in Massachusetts, the son of Harry O. and Mary B. Benson. He grew up in Marblehead, graduating from Marblehead High School, He attended Duke University before dropping out in 1943 to enlist in the military.

He was trained as a pilot, and graduated from training on December 13, 1943, at Freeman Army Air Force Base in Seymour, Tennessee. He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant, and received combat crew training on the B-24 aircraft.

Benson was assigned to the 862nd Bomb Squadron of the 493rd Bomb Group, and deployed with them to England in May, 1944. His first mission was on June 6, 1944 - D-Day.

On June 29, 1944, as part of the Hansen crew, he was selected to fly co-pilot on a mission to bomb the aircraft engine facilities at Fallersleben, Germany. During the bomb run, a direct hit was sustained by the aircraft from a flak gun. The hit was at the #3 engine, but the fuel tanks ignited and exploded.

In a photograph taken by an observer on an adjacent aircraft, a sheet of flame enveloping the aircraft and exiting from the bomb bays may be seen. The aircraft pitched up, began a slow bank, and disintegrated at 10,000 feet. Lt. Benson was the only crew member able to bail out.

When he landed on the ground, he surrendered to a German gun crew. They turned him over to Helmuth Lippman, a local Hitler Youth leader. As Lippman marched Benson away, he shot him three times in the back with a small caliber handgun. Then, he turned Benson over to a group of German Air Raid Wardens who proceeded to beat him to death, using iron pipes and their steel helmets.

All the bodies were gathered and buried in the local cemetery. In 1946, the Graves Registration unearthed the graves, but noted that one "body was different from the rest." They began an investigation, interviewing local witnesses and discovered the truth. Lippman was tried, convicted, and sentenced to hang. (Commuted to 25 years.) The air raid wardens were convicted and served sentences of several years each.

Lt. Benson was buried in an overseas American cemetery, but later returned to the U.S. where he lies today in Waterside Cemetery in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

  

Comments/Citation
Lt Sidney A. Benson was co-pilot on the B-24J # 42-94812 "Little Warrior" of the 862nd Bomb Squadron.

The Missing Air Crew Report number 6721 applies. The crew consisted of:

2 Lt John H. Hansen     p
2 Lt Sidney A. Benson    c-p
2 Lt Jerome (NMI) Levy     nav
2 Lt Malcolm H. Stich     bomb
SSgt Billy B. Gomilliom     r/o
TSgt Vernon J. Polzin     eng/tt gun
SSgt Cyrus R. Aidala    btg
SSgt Walter A. Boykowski    tail gun
SSgt Sylvanus G. Haskell    nose gun
SSgt John E. Sanders    w gun


NOTE: SSgt Gomillion was substitute for SSgt Jose C. Romas, the regular crew radio operator.

NOTE: Tribute added from family member.

Service photo source:
www.findagrave.com
 

   
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