Of all things as a Standard Bearer there is nothing like attending the funeral of veteran and being the only one there with a handful of mourners and Walter, I thought was going to probably one of those timely passing’s just before Christmas that few have the time to attend, and this time nothing would surprise like a TV appeal and find hundreds appearing.
Mr Walter Bentley RAF – A WW2 Veteran Pilot.
Walter had died in Salford, Manchester, with no surviving family and only a few known friends, Walter, aged 97, who lives at Alderwood Care Home, Salford,
An appeal had been made to see if more people could come forward to pay their respects to this brave man, at his funeral on Monday 10th December 2018 and it was to be held at 1pm and at Agecroft cemetery on Langley road, Pendlebury, Salford.
On behalf of the King’s & Manchester’s as their Standard Bearer and with with this funeral being televised there was a crowd of over 200 people who attended, 10 standards that escorted him to the chapel and received applause as they arrived, and the Union & RAF Standards then took him through for the service, whilst the remainder lined the the foyer of the chapel, the chapel was filled and spilled to the outside and at least half that number were ex-servicemen, RAF, Para’s, SAS, Artillery, Air Cadets, Salford’s Mayor and many others attended the service, his two friends of 50 years spoke and the Humanist taking the service spoke of his service and friends.
Of his service she said that in 1942 at the age of 21 Walter joined the RAF. He was posted to 570 squadron stationed in Berkshire. His first mission was on September 23, 1944, carrying meals and ammunition in a Brief Stirling 4 engine bomber to Allied troops combating for the strategically necessary Arnheim Bridge within the Netherlands.
On the way to the DZ, Walters plane was shot down near Nijmegen, but he managed to crash land the plane with the wing on fire and all 6 crew walked away from the wreckage, Walter was shot down close to the city of Nijmegen however he heroically managed to land the airplane.
All the six crew members walked away from the wreckage and would be back flying within a week.
They made contact with an Army convoy and were back in England within a week. They then returned to active service for the remainder of the war.
Walter managed to fly many different fight missions through the battle, together with towing a glider stuffed with paratroopers to Germany in 1945 throughout Operation Varsity because the Allied forces surged throughout the Rhine
He was awarded the Star with Bomber Command clasp and the France and Germany Star battle medal for his bravery.
In 1955 he married his spouse Gladys, who died in 2007.
Retired RAF officer, Owen Hammond, secretary of Salford Veterans Community, informed the MEN: “I solely obtained to know Walter in 2017 when he had a fall and broke his hip. We have been knowledgeable that one in every of our veterans who flew at Arnhem Bridge was in hospital. At first I assumed it should be false as we’d have identified about him.
“Nevertheless it was all true. He didn’t speak about his exploits. He didn’t need any fuss. Only a small number of close friends knew.
Of the man’s antics like most who have character he was just a nice man, he grew in the area he was born to, he worked as a cabinet maker before the war and returned to it when the war ended.
Suffice it to say that he was a lovely, missed by those who knew him and he is one of the last of those with the courage to fight Adolf Hitler and his evil regime to a standstill, I salute him for my freedom, and my grandchildren’s future which he assured.
THANK YOU WALTER BENTLEY MAY YOU REST IN PEACE.