BENTLEY, William John


rank: F/O
status: kia
airforce: RCAF    (no: J18928 )
born: 1920-02-04 Willowdale Canada

added by: BigAlex

All Images:

Bio / Text:

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William John Bentley DoB 04/02/1920 AKA Bill, grew up with his Parents William and Esther and 3 sisters, Hazel, Shirley and Betty, in suburb of Willowdale, Toronto. With a passion for Cars and Aeroplanes he volunteered for service as a Pilot with the Royal Canadian Airforce in 1941. From initial training he successfully trained as a fighter Pilot. With his training completed he was posted to England where he converted to fly the RAF’s premiere fighter aircraft, the ‘Spitfire’. During the course of the War he served on in the UK on 152, 65 squadrons. In the summer of 1942 he was posted to Malta that at the time was fighting for it’s survival on 249 squadron.

On return to the UK he was posted to instructional duties on 57 OTU. As D day was being planned he was posted to RCAF 443 squadron, where he was initially flying operations from the UK but quickly found himself flying missions in support of ground troops from small make shift airfields just behind the lines in France. On the 30th July 1944 he was credited in shooting down a ME109 aircraft. As his career progressed he rose through the ranks and held a commission as a Flying Officer. He gained a total of 582 hours, with 475 hours on the Spitfire.

Unfortunately, on Saturday 12th August 1944 he was conducting an armed recce patrol NE of a small town in Northern France called Bernay over enemy territory, when his aircraft developed a glycol leak ( perhaps subject to ground fire?) and Bill was forced to Bail out. Sadly his parachute caught on aircraft and he was dragged down with the aircraft killing him. A tragic loss of a young man. The French patriots looked after his body, keeping him in a church yard until in 1947 the Commonwealth War graves gave his a permeant resting place.

Airman service number R80806
Officer service Number J18928

All my research is compiled on a FB page.


Squadrons add
RCAF 152 sqn 1941-11-01
RCAF 65 sun 1942-03-01
RCAF 249sqn 1942-11-01
RCAF 57 OTU 1943-05-01
RCAF 443 sun 1944-05-01
RAF 65 Squadron 1942-03-13
RAF 58 OTU 1941-05-01


EN795 1942-08-01
ER660 WO W Bentley flew this Spitfire from Gibraltar - Tafaranari - Maison Blanche 1942-11-19
BR476 WO William Bentley flew on 249 sqn escorted bombers who attacked Sicily 1943-01-05
EP140 Flown by RCAF WO. William Bentley 249 sqn 1943-01-18
R6915 Flown whilst instructing on 57 OTU 1943-06-15
MK607 1944-06-01
MJ741 1944-06-01
ML147 1944-06-01
MJ679 1944-06-01
MJ779 1944-06-01
MH370 1944-06-01
ML303 1944-06-01


Comments / Questions:

reply: BigAlex An ongoing project. 2021-02-04 20:30:53

Thank you! It is still work in progress. Managed to download the relevant squadron summary of events and Operational Record Books whilst it was free during the Lockdown. I will keep up loading information linked to Bill. This website is a fantastic source of information.

by: kurtis Nice Facebook Page 2019-06-12 06:31:44

I read the facebook link, tons of great material, images, research. Congrats.