Second World War RAF Bomber Command pilot who lives near Kenilworth has nostalgic flypast for his 100th birthday celebrations

Maurice Bennett was one of the three per cent of air crews who survived two tours of operations during the war and is the most highly decorated surviving Bomber Command pilot

Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 4:09 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 4:10 pm

Britian's most highly decorated surviving RAF Bomber Command pilot who was among one of very few air crews to survive two tours of operations during the Second World War was honoured by a nostalgic flyover when he celebrated his 100th birthday at the Balsall Common care home where he now lives.

Maurice Bennett was thrilled when he watched the RAF Dakota DC3 fly past Harper Fields on Saturday (September 11) saying "it took my breath away".

Maurice was 18 when the Second World War broke out in 1939.

Maurice Bennett, who celebrated his 100th birthday on Saturday (September 11) and lives at Harper Fields care home in Balsall Common, is the most highly decorated surviving RAF Bomber Command pilot.

All he wanted to do at the time was to be a pilot.

He trained in the USA with only around 30 per cent of the trainees passing the test to become qualified pilots and get their 'American wings'.

Upon his return to England from training Maurice was stationed in Bournemouth.

Maurice said: “I completed two tours of operations with Bomber Command, statistics revealed after the war that only three per cent of air crews survived two tours.

A Halifax Bomber like those flown by Maurice in the Second World War.

"I was one of that three per cent.”

Maurice then became an instructor, teaching people how to fly Halifax bomber planes, he is the most highly decorated surviving bomber command pilot.

After the war Maurice had a long and rewarding career with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Maurice lives at Harper Fields with his wife Vi.

Photo of the The RAF Dakota DC3 flying past Harper Fields home in Balsall Common during Maurice Bennett's 100th birthday celebrations on Saturday (September 11).

The couple will be celebrating 78 years of marriage in October.

Maurice's family and the team at the care home enjoyed planning the big celebration for his birthday.

Hayley Wilkinson, general manager of Harper Fields, said: “Maurice celebrated his 100th birthday in style.

"His family came from near and far to share his special day.

Maurice lives at Harper Fields with his wife Vi. The couple will be celebrating 78 years of marriage in October.

"We were very thrilled and excited as Maurice enjoyed the flyover.

"Everyone at the home felt honoured to be able to share this fabulous experience with Maurice.

Our talented Chef Jen baked and decorated a cake in RAF colours, which was very fitting for a Bomber Command hero.

"Happy 100th birthday Maurice from everyone at Harper Fields, we thank you for your bravery and service to our country."