W.45  First Officer Margaret Ellen 'Faith' Bennett 
 flag england

b. 12 May 1903, London

8 Jul 1941 to 31 Jul 1945 

 


 margaret bennett 1934  RAeC 1934

 

ata faith bennett  MUWW

 

faith bennett 1944  1944

 

 

née Margaret Ellen Riddick

Father: Harry Riddick, mother Mabel

Ed. Selhurst High School, Croydon, Surrey

Her elder brother, Private Stanley Charles Riddick, d. 15 Nov 1916, aged 19, in France during WWI .

 She married Hollywood film writer Charles Alfred Selwyn Bennett in 1930, and calling herself 'Faith Bennett', was an actress pre-WWII -  firstly on the London stage:

"Faith Bennett, who will play lead in 'Recipe for Murder', a new play by Arnold Ridley, which opens at the Duke of York's Theatre on December 21" (1932)

 

... and then in many films, including 'Eyes of Fate', 'Hawleys of High Street' and 'The Pride of the Force' (1933), and 'Seeing Is Believing', and 'Master and Man' (both 1934)), although I've seen references to other films e.g. 'Love In The Air' and 'Atlantic Crossing' ...

  "In taste, quality and packing the equal of much dearer cigarettes but not quite so large; big enough, however, to last the full 10 minutes" (1937)

 

 ... and also played the Fairy Godmother in 'Cinderella', the Drury Lane pantomime, in !934

 

At the same time, she took up flying and passed for her 'A' Licence at Sywell Aerodrome in 1934 (which apparently included wearing 'weird and wonderful costumes' at the Novelty Dance held there in February:

 

With her instructor, Tommy Rose  - see

http://www.afleetingpeace.org/index.php/pioneering-women/rose-thomas

 ata_faith_bennett_sywell_1934.jpg

(Faith and Charles, far right)

 [Charles also took lessons, but doesn't seem to have gained his certificate]

In May 1941 she decided to 'do her bit': "Faith Bennett, actress and writer, is flying to England to ferry 'planes for the Royal Air Force [sic]. Mrs Bennett was born in London 30 years ago [sic]. Flying is her hobby. She holds both American and British licenses. ''One of my brothers died in the last war, another is in the Royal Navy, my sister is a censor at Bermuda - they are all doing their bit, and I want to do mine,' she said."

prev. exp. 296 hrs

Address in 1941: Falcon House, Sonning, Berks


Postings: 1FPP, 5TFPP, 15FPP

 Off sick from 9 Dec 1941 to 6 Jan 1942 after her Hurricane crash, and 27 Oct 1943 to 13 Jan 1944 with 'concussion'

 

Rather unfortunate: 11 accidents, 3 her fault:

- 8 Dec 1941, she persisted too far in bad weather, stalled her Hurricane BD859 near the ground and broke the undercarriage

           [see https://www.yorkshire-aircraft.co.uk/aircraft/yorkshire/york41/bd859.html]

- 16 Feb 1943, the port leg of her Tomahawk AH802 broke off during landing

- 24 Feb 1943, in another Tomahawk AH845, the port undercarriage leg collapsed

- 16 Sep 1943, forced landing in a Hurricane after the landing gear locked up

- 10 Aug 1943, in Master I T8366, which veered off the runway and collided with a car, due to ineffective brakes

- 1 Oct 1943, her Hudson swung off the runway on landing, because the tail wheel lock had disengaged

- 20 Oct 1943, a taxying accident in an Anson, due to an error of judgement on her part

- 23 Jan 1944, her Mosquito suffered a 'strained' port undercarriage leg on landing - faulty indicator light

- 25 Apr 1944, forced landing in Seafire MB356, after the landing gear locked up

- 30 May 1944, the port undercarriage leg of her Barracuda II BV921 collapsed on landing

- 29 Jun 1945, she failed to control the swing when landing Mosquito XXV KB617

 

"Extremely keen and hardworking. Seems to have regained confidence" "Her navigation is somewhat unorthodox. Technical knowlege poor"

Class IV pilot


m. 1946 Herbert Henry Newmark, also an ex-ATA pilot:

herbert newmark 1938

d. 14 Mar 1969 - London.

 Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faith_Bennett


 Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):download grey

 
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