world war 2: warsaw uprising 1944


Ben Nevis Woods, Warrant Officer Class II 543513V, 31st Squadron S.A.A.F.

He did not return from the Dropp[ing] Ammo to Polish Patriots in Warsaw mission.

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"Ben was the Brother-in-law of one of my Great Uncles. He was living and working in South Africa in the 1930s. His job was to look after the polo ponies of a South African jeweler. Ben joined the South African Air Force during WW2 and attended 43 Air School Port Alfred where he qualified as an Air Gunner on the 31st July 1943. He then flew in Liberators with the 31st Squadron S.A.A.F. Ben was shot down and killed on the night of the 14th August 1944 while taking part in the Warsaw Airlift. The plane crashed at Goledzinow near Warsaw, Poland. The Liberator was flown by Captain N. van Rensburg and all the crew died at the crash site. Four years later his family finally found out what happened to him..." [From defunct Steve Martin website]

Ben Nevis Woods, like most of the Warsaw Airlift airmen casualties, was re-buried at the Rakowicki Cemetery in Cracow – a site of the Commonwealth Military Cemetery in Poland.


[ click to zoom in ]

    ben davies flying log book flying log book    
    Ben in 1930s Flying Log Book: cover Flying Log Book: the last mission    
  b.n. woods doc1 b.n. woods doc2   b.n. woods doc3    
  Telegram Letter no. 1   Letter no. 2    
  b.n. woods doc4 b.n. woods doc5   b.n. woods doc6    
  Newspaper clipping no. 1 Newspaper clipping no. 2   Newspaper clipping no. 3    
  rakowicki cemetery 1 rakowicki cemetery 2   b.n. woods tombstone    
  Rakowicki Cemetery Cpt. N. van Rensburg crew grave   Ben Newis Woods tombstone    

rakowicki cemetery panorama

Commonwealth section at the Rakowicki cemetery during the All Saints' day in 2007.


Photo by:
© Szymon Madej

  Ben Newis Woods photographs and documents courtesy of Steve Martin;
Rakowicki Cemetery photographs by Damian Gospodarczyk – thank you!
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