Remembering Bentley and Causeway

Second row: Bentley and Causeway

Luca Piancastelli sent me this message before he found the 23 Squadron video I had edited a few years ago.

This is the report on the crash of the Mosquito. Since I worked for the Tribunal on many aircraft crashes in recent years, the result is quite clear. Not only fog but also engine failure. 

For the fire I am not sure. If the Mosquito had the covers on ejector exhausts, then the fire is sure. If not the  Merlin at high rpm (single enginel operation) made quite long flames.

Best

After looking at the footage Luca had found his answer.

 


This is what he wrote me…

Facts

The grave of the crew has the propeller on it (in very good condition, it was not powered at the impact).

The propeller came directly from the crash site.

Due to the good condition of the propeller, at the moment of the crash the Mosquito had an engine not working (probably with feathered propeller).

The glow seen by the witnesses in the very thick fog is probably due to a fire onboard. The people heard the noise first and then saw the fire.

The Mosquito had covers on the exhaust to reduce signature in night operations, as it can be seen from numerous photographs of the 23 Squadron ( a detachment) that was based near Naples (Pomigliano). The flames from the exhaust very extremely attenuated even at night.

Therefore, the aircraft went down on fire with an engine stopped (no power).

The fog was (only) a collateral (big) problem.

You may correct the cause of the crash.

The crash time was taken from the watch of the Pilot (see the letter in the first doc I sent you). This hour can be clearly seen on the grave and was confirmed by the witnesses.

They were on the route back.

They had full moon.

On 11-12 November 1943 the Full moon was visible: 100%

Source: https://www.calendar-12.com/moon_calendar/1943/november​


Comments

They may took a hit or they could have had an engine failure. Fire is possible in petrol engines. The same aircraft had a previous aborted mission due to engine failure.

Typically you see the hill of San Marino coming out on a see of fog, if there is enough moon (it happened at night-full moon).

This is a clear reference point for the navigator, clearly visible on the maps.

They may have tried an emergency landing due to the fire (the Mosquito flew “perfectly” on a single engine) or the “wooden wonder” may had a structural problem due to the fire.

Best Piancas

Luca Piancastelli

Professor

DIN University of Bologna

viale Risorgimento,2

40136 Bologna

ITALY


Luca added these images of the funeral of Bentley and Causeway…

Epilogue

Dear all, here is my final report on the accident with new figures and the proof that the Mosquitos of the 23 Squadron at Pomigliano had flame suppressors installed.

I will send it to the ASN aircraft incident Archive to rectify the cause from “fog” to “fog and fire”.

The same Mosquito had a previous full engine stop with aborted mission on de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito FB Mk VI HX869​. With any probability the engine has been replaced in that occasion. Standard procedure was to replace both engines to avoid big differences in thrust if the remaining engine is old. Ground and flight tests were carried out for this purpose. Therefore, we do not know if a single engine was replaced or if the two engines were replaced. If the two engines were replaced it is possible that the original Merlin Mark was upgraded or modified due to avaliability.

Therefore, my research on Merlin mark is finished. I will write on my scientific papers only Merlin XX, instead of Merlin 21,23 or 25.

Thank you for your contributions to my work.

Best

Piancas

Notes on the Crash of 1943 Mosquito San Marino_Final-1

Donald Hepworth Bentley

This post was written in 2013.

http://wp.me/pSrQ4-Ob

Luca commented this week using the contact form.

I am a professor from the University of Bologna. I make a few works on the engine (the left one?) of the Mosquito of Flight Sergeant Bentley. I was looking for the exact type of the engine (Merlin 21, 23 or 25). In this research I collected a few docs and the exact (maybe) story of the crash. If you like, I can send you the material I have. In any case, I am looking for a contact with an historian of the RAF 23 Squadron.
Can you help me?
Best regards
Luca Piancastelli
DIN – Aerospace div.
viale Risorgimento,2
40136 Bologna
Italy

Who remembers Eugène Gagnon?

Eugene Gagnoncollection Ghislaine Laporte, Eugène’s fiancée

All the people who have visited this blog since April 2010.

Little Snoring - June or July 19451945

collection Tom Cushing via Peter Smith

All the people who have visited this blog since April 2010, and found relatives who were associated with 23 Squadron like Paul Beaudet’s daughter.

Paul Beaudet group picture

collection Peter Smith

Paul Beaudet who was George Stewart’s navigator.

Paul Beaudet and George Stewart 1

People who had never heard about this French-Canadian Mosquito pilot, immortalized with a caricature done by Pat Rooney.

caricature d'Eugène Gagnon

Who remembers Donald Hepworth Bentley and Sergeant Causeway?

Bentley and Causeway

Theo Griffiths and his son-in-law who has shared all his step-father’s war souvenirs.

Rick Maude and Theodore Griffiths mod

Rick Maude and Theo Griffiths

collection Theo Griffiths

a-flight-23-squadron-naples-10-november-1943-bwcollection Theo Griffiths

Who?

image

image
image

Who remembers Donald Hepworth Bentley?

How I came to write about this Mosquito pilot…?

Donald

A comment left on this blog November 29, 2013.

I have just located this site on my iPad. My relative, Donald Hepworth Bentley, was a Flight Sergeant with 23 Squadron based at Luca in Malta. His navigator was a Sergeant Causeway. They were both killed September 1943 and are buried together in the cemetery in San Marino. The grave has the propeller from the Mosquito mounted on it.

I have photos if any one interested.
They were 23 years old and had trained in Canada.

Sent from my iPad

photo 3

Collection  Paul Guy

1_14152_image1

Tom Hardy and Sophie, Paul Guy’s daughter

Collection  Tom Hardy and Sophie Guy

How I got this picture?

A comment made last week…

Hi Pierre,

This was taken a couple of days ago. Sophie is the daughter of Paul Guy whose uncle was Donald Bentley, I see that he sent some photos and information regarding Donald previously. Sophie is with her husband Tom, my son. Was so pleased that they made the effort to remember him. They also did their best to choose flowers that were in Donald’s footbal team colours – Claret and Amber, Bradford City (he was from Wyke, a district of Bradford).

Best wishes and regards.

Tim Hardy

image1

Donald Hepworth Bentley

Posted in 2013

RAF 23 Squadron

From this comment sent from Paul, a cousin of Donald…

I have just located this site on my iPad. My relative, Donald Hepworth Bentley, was a  flt/set with 23 squadron based at Luca in Malta. His navigator was a Sgt Causeway. They were both killed September 1943 and are buried together in the cemetery in San Marino. The grave has the propeller from the Mosquito mounted on it.

I have photos if any one interested.
They were 23 years old and had trained in Canada.

To this  picture he shared with me so I could share it with my readers…

Donald

Flight Sergeant Bentley

This will be the first post about that Mosquito pilot.

photo1

The first of many posts about a pilot who flew this type of plane…

Malta Mosquito

And who is buried in San Marino Town Cemetery in Italy with his navigator.

photo 2

photo 3

photo 4

Maybe there is a logbook somewhere.

If you have…

View original post 8 more words

Donald in Canada – Redux

Update

Hi Pierre, just found this old photo of Donald in Canada. I seem to remember it was when he had just received his Wings. The person with him, I think, was High Commissioner or consul. The photo on the back says, Happy Valley, Halifax.

Keep reading you blog, brilliant.

IMG_1566 1

Sorry again for this third post of the day.

This search can get addictive you know…

So is this blog about 23 Squadron.

Paul just sent me this message confirming that Donald Bentley is on this picture.

A flight 23 Squadron Naples 10 November 1943 close-up

Hi Pierre,

That photo is correct. What confused us at first was the gaunt look he appears to have compared to some old photos. I will try send you one of him in Canada in a minute.

Regards

Paul.

After a minute or so later…

Paul sent this picture of Donald Bentley who got his training in Canada.

Donald in Canada

This was taken in Canada, don’t know the location, but looks like somewhere on Coast.

Paul

We are going to find out sooner or later…

Bentley and Causeway

If you have any information, please feel free to contact me.

70 years later

Donald Hepworth Bentley is the pilot on this close-up of a picture taken in Naples on November 10th, 1943.

Second row, on the left.

Bentley and Causeway

Paul wrote me about it, and he confirmed yesterday that his cousin Donald is the pilot on the left in the second row.

The family and myself are pretty sure that Donald is the second pilot standing on the right hand side of the photo. His likeness is very like one of my granddaughters.

If Donald is on the left, then the navigator on the right must be his navigator Sergeant Causeway.

It would be logical to assume this.

Bentley and Causeway

This is Theo Griffiths’ original picture in his collection where pilots and navigators of A Flight are photographed.

A flight 23 Squadron Naples 10 November 1943

Theo wrote the caption.

Rich Cooper has been sharing all he could send, scanned pictures and logbook pages, everything except the kitchen sink.

I found this logbook page with some entries for November 1943.

I don’t have the pages before or after. I did not find it in more than hundreds of files Rich sent.

logbook november 1943-1

The entries stop after November 16.

Theo did not fly after because there would have been something written.

There is no mention of what happened to Donald Bentley nor Sergeant Causeway on November 20.

This is the next page.

December 1943

To be continued?

A flight 23 Squadron Naples 10 November 1943 close-up

If you have any information about these pilots or anything related to 23 Squadron, please feel free to contact me.

Donald in Canada

Sorry again for this third post of the day.

This search can get addictive you know…

So is this blog about 23 Squadron.

Paul just sent me this message confirming that Donald Bentley is on this picture.

A flight 23 Squadron Naples 10 November 1943 close-up

Hi Pierre,

That photo is correct. What confused us at first was the gaunt look he appears to have compared to some old photos. I will try send you one of him in Canada in a minute.

Regards

Paul.

After a minute or so later…

Paul sent this picture of Donald Bentley who got his training in Canada.

Donald in Canada

This was taken in Canada, don’t know the location, but looks like somewhere on Coast.

Paul

We are going to find out sooner or later…

Bentley and Causeway

If you have any information, please feel free to contact me.

A Flight 23 Squadron Naples 10 November 1943 Redux

Rich Cooper had sent this picture part of Theodore Griffith’s collection.

Donald Hepworth Bentley has to be on this picture if he was with A Flight.

A flight 23 Squadron Naples 10 November 1943 bw

A Flight 23 Squadron
Naples 10 November 1943

Theo Griffiths is the fourth man second row on the left.

Donald Bentley died on November 20, 1943.

photo 2

He has to be there with his navigator Sergeant Causeway.

If you have any information, please feel free to contact me.