Anthony Bennett - F136 Guardian Obituary

Discussion in 'SOE & OSS' started by Jedburgh22, Jul 7, 2012.

  1. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Anthony Bennett obituary

    Priscilla Church, Thursday 5 July 2012 11.36 BST

    Anthony Bennett took a copy of the Guardian with him to his grave
    In August 1939, my father, Anthony Bennett, who has died aged 91, joined an anti-aircraft battery, initially along the south coast of England. In 1942 he was sent to India, defending the border with Burma. He volunteered for Force 136, a branch of the Special Operations Executive, and was parachuted behind enemy lines to work with the native Karen people of Burma.

    At the end of the war he returned to Burma to work in logging for Steel Brothers. He enjoyed his work and forged a lifelong interest in the country. On a visit in 1982 he managed to cross the border from Thailand to meet up with old friends. He was very pleased about the recent elections and progress in the country.

    Born in Folkestone, Kent, the son of a businessman, Tony was a choirboy and won a scholarship to the town's Harvey grammar school. He began his working life in the borough treasurer's office before joining up at the approach of the second world war. From Burma, he was transferred to British Guiana (now Guyana), where he worked for a number of years, before going home with tuberculosis.

    He was treated in Ventnor, on the Isle of Wight, where he fell in love with the night sister, a young widow, Margaret, whom he later married. No longer fit to work overseas, he studied for his chartered secretary qualification and joined Pilkington Brothers glass manufacturers in St Helens, Merseyside, in 1959. Tony spent 22 years with the firm, ending as group pensions advisor. He retired in 1982 to Chichester, West Sussex, where he learned to sail and became an active member of the cathedral. Although later in life he lost his Christian faith, he remained a deist.

    For nearly 70 years he was an avid Guardian reader and correspondent, often winning the book token in the Money section's Personal Effects column for his advice. Tony surprised his family by appearing in Good to Meet You in 2009, and was buried with the Guardian as he requested. He wrote for the social research organisation Mass Observation, and completed a family history and a personal memoir.

    He was buried in a woodland site – on a fine day, as he had hoped. Unarranged, but appropriately, a Belgium Stampe aeroplane (similar to a Tiger Moth, in which Tony had learned to fly) flew over and did a barrel roll.

    He is survived by Margaret, four children, Paul, Julia, Sebastian and me, and four grandchildren, Rebecca, Jack, Billy and Sarah.

    Anthony Bennett obituary | From the Guardian |

Share This Page