The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. A Bennison
Alan Bennison was born in Ashburton, South Island on 5th March 1918 and educated at the Hampstead School and the Technical School there. He volunteered for aircrew duties in early 1939 but was not called up until 13th February 1940.
After completing his initial training Bennison sailed for the UK, arriving on 8th June. He was posted to 5 OTU Aston Down on 17th July for further training and, after being awarded his Air Gunners badge, he joined 25 Squadron at North Weald on 21st September 1940.
From October the squadron began to receive Beaufighters, equipped with radar. Bennison remustered as a Radar Operator (Air) in late December 1940 and after a navigation course at Cranage became a Navigator Radar in July 1941.
Bennison was posted to 89 Squadron, then forming at Colerne, in October 1941. The squadron flew to the Middle East, as two flights, in November. As well as night defence of the Delta, 89 Squadron also flew long day patrols over the Mediterranean, searching for Fw200 Condors which were preying on Allied shipping.
In August 1942 Bennison was posted to India but he fell sick and remained at Air HQ Middle East on Operations Room duties. He rejoined 89 Squadron in February 1943 but went to 46 Squadron at Idku on 13th April.
With his tour completed, Bennison returned to the UK in October 1943, where he was posted to an instructors course at 62 OTU Ouston. In January 1944 he went to 51 OTU Cranfield, as an instructor and was commissioned in February.
Repatriated to New Zealand in early June, he went on to the Reserve on 22nd September 1944. He joined the Active Reserve at its inception in 1949, with his original number of 130806, and continued to do so until transferred to the General Reserve on 31st December 1969.
He was awarded the Air Efficiency Medal and two clasps.
Bennison died on 30th April 2011.