May 24 2013 Latest news:
by Alistair Kleebauer, Senior reporter
Thursday, September 27, 2012
The man who flew the first Second World War mission from Fairlop Waters and who was shot down over the English Channel is receiving local support to pay for his care costs.
Harold Bennett bravely commanded a Spitfire plane aged 20 from the RAF base on the site of the current Fairlop Waters Country Park in 1941.
The flight sergeant spent three-and-a-half years in prisoner of war camps after being captured by the Germans.
Now the Fairlop Waters Golf Club, which has two courses within the park in Forest Road, Barkingside, is holding fundraising events to ensure Harold, 90, can afford to live at a Kent care home.
David Martin, chairman of the Fairlop Heritage Group, who alerted the golfers to Harold’s difficulties, said: “He’s very well known at Fairlop Waters, he’s a very popular man.
The Fairlop Heritage Group will hold a remembrance service at Fairlop Waters on November 11.
Chairman David Martin said 900 men and 100 women served from an RAF base there during the Second World War.
He said: “I’m doing my bit to ensure the people who flew from there and those who died from there are remembered.”
“Harold put his life on the line and made his country free from Nazism.
“We shouldn’t forget our veterans who fought for our freedom.”
The club held a Chairman’s Cup competition on September 9 which raised £165 through entry fees, with around 40 people taking part in an 18-hole stroke play tournament. A further tournament is planned for next month and a quiz will be held at a later date.
The aim is to raise £600 to £1,000.
The club’s chairman Keith Fortt said: “David said Harold’s been having a bit of difficulty. He’s a very respected gentleman.”
David explained that Harold has mobility problems and moved from his own home in Kent to the care home in the last two months.
He had wanted to return to his own home but suffered a collapse.
Harold flew the first mission with a fellow pilot from RAF Fairlop, which was also used during the First World War, in November 1941.
On December 8, he was due to go on leave but was forced to fly in his best uniform before being gunned down into the sea.
To support the fundraising, visit the clubhouse at Fairlop Waters.