Bent, William Thomas

Personal Information

Rank P/O
Forename(s) William Thomas
Surname Bent
Gender M
Age 26
Decorations DFM
Date of Death 09-11-1942
Next of Kin Son of William and Emma Bent (née Dutton), of Glen White, West Virginia, USA. Husband of Bernice Raye Bent (née Howze), whom he married on 31 August 1941 in Rochester, Minnesota.

Aircraft Information

Aircraft Vickers Wellington III
Serial Number BJ711
Markings QT-Z

Memorial Information

Burial/Memorial Country Germany
Burial/Memorial Place Hamburg Cemetery
Grave Reference Coll. grave 8A. C. 1-15.

IBCC Memorial Information

Phase 1
Panel Number 8

Enlistment Information

Service Number J/15845
Service Royal Canadian Air Force
Group 1
Squadron 142
Squadron Motto Determination
Trade Pilot
Country of Origin United States of America

Miscellaneous Information

William was born at Glen White, West Virginia, USA on 22 August 1916. Both parents were born in Lancashire, England and his father was a miner (electrical). They were all shown as American citizens. He had two sisters Ivy and Dorothy. He attended Glen White Grade School between 1922- 1931 (general). He then went to Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley, West Virginia 1931 -1934 (college prep). William then worked as a Store Clerk for PJ Catlett at Beckley between 1934-1936 before returning to school. After that he attended Marshall College between 1936-1939 (a 3 year pre-medicine course) to attain a B.Sc. Degree. The sports he enjoyed were boxing, baseball, basketball, swimming and tennis. His hobby was photography. William worked as a Conveyor Man in a coal mine in West Virginia between 1938-1940.
He enlisted on 30 November 1940, during the period for which the United States was still neutral and in so doing, risked his citizenship. After completing his training William was posted the U.K., embarking from Canada on 18 September 1941. He arrived at 3PRC on 28 September 1941 and then went to 27 OTU 21 October 1941 and 142 Squadron on 13 May 1942. Sadly William lost his life on 9 November 1942.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The National Archives

Fellow Servicemen

Last Operation Information

Start Date 09-11-1942
End Date 10-11-1942
Takeoff Station Grimsby
Day/Night Raid Night (3% moon)
Operation Hamburg
Reason for Loss Crashed in the Hamburg area

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Casualty Pack

IBCC is delighted to introduce a unique facility to link the Losses Database to the relevant RAF Casualty Pack on the National Archives website. This project is the result of on-going collaboration between IBCC, the MOD Records Office and National Archives, Kew. This document describes what Casualty Packs are, when they were created, the process of making them available to the public and then goes on to describe the process by which you can view the contents of the packs. Casualty Packs (CPs) were created by the RAF whenever there was serious injury or loss of life associated with operational activity within the RAF. This includes operational flying losses, enemy action due to air raids, road accidents either on station or even off-station if they involved RAF vehicles. Deaths due to natural causes in service or accidents that did not involve RAF vehicles did not generally give rise to a CP.

CPs were originally given a unique reference number by the RAF. Each begins with the letter ‘P’ and is followed by six digits, then an oblique (forward slash) and the finally the year in which the incident took place- for example P396154/42.

The CPs are in the process of being made available to the general public as they are passed from the MOD Records Office, Portsmouth to National Archives, Kew. This process requires some rework to the files which is very time consuming, so the process of making them all available to National Archives will take several years. They are being made available in increasing date order.

Once CPs arrive at National Archives they are assigned a unique AIR81 number, so each CP has both a P-number and an AIR81 number. Both are searchable on the National Archives website under ‘Search the catalogue’ and both are included on the IBCC website.

The AIR81 reference on the IBCC website is a link to the file on the National Archives website. When you click on it, the relevant page will open in a new tab on your browser.

There is currently no plan to digitise AIR81 files, partly because they are fragile and partly because the information they contain can at times be sensitive, even harrowing, since they may contain exhumation reports and even photographs of corpses. Family members wishing to read the AIR81 files relating to their ancestors are advised to exercise caution and be guided by National Archives warnings where appropriate.

There are two means for accessing AIR81 files- to attend in person or to order a copy by post.

To attend in person, the attendee should first create a Reader’s Ticket. This can be done online by following this link: Then click on the AIR81 reference on the IBCC website and click Order in Advance. Enter your Reader’s Ticket number and state the date on which you intend to visit. National Archives will have the file ready for you when you arrive, saving you time. When you visit Kew, you must quote the Reader’s Ticket number and take along two forms of ID- one bearing your signature and one bearing your address. When you view the files, you are permitted to take photographs of each page, should you wish.

Alternatively, if you wish to order a copy by post, please be aware that there is a charge for this service based on the number of pages in the file. Click on the AIR81 reference on the IBCC website and then click Request a Copy. There is an £8.40 charge for National Archives staff to access the file and give you a quotation for the copying service. The process takes around 24 days to complete and can be expensive.

IBCC wishes to thank the staff at the MOD Records Office and National Archives for their engagement and assistance in making this facility available to our website users.