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Name: Louis Bennett, Jr. Balloon-Buster
Louis Bennett
Country: United States
Rank: Lieutenant
Service: Royal Flying Corps
Royal Air Force
Units: 40 (RAF)
Victories: 12
Born: 22 September 1894
Place of Birth: Weston, West Virginia, USA
Died: 24 August 1918 Killed In Action
Place of Death:  
Cemetery: Machpelah Cemetery, Weston, West Virginia, USA
Lot 82 Space 4
 
 
The son of Louis and Sallie Maxwell Bennett of Weston, West Virginia, Louis Bennett's father, a prominent Lewis county politician, was the Democratic nominee for governor of West Virginia in 1908. Louis Bennett Jr. attended Cutler and St. Luke's preparatory schools in Pennsylvania before enrolling at Yale in 1913. In October 1917 he joined the Royal Flying Corps at Toronto, Ontario. Like fellow American Frank Luke, Bennett was fond of shooting down balloons. During his brief but remarkable nine day career, Bennett flew 25 sorties against the Germans, shooting down nine enemy balloons from an S.E.5a. On 24 August 1918, after destroying his last two balloons, his aircraft burst into flames when it was hit by ground fire. Bennett crashed but was pulled from his plane shortly before he died from his injuries. Bennett received no medals for his actions in combat.

The Aviator
"Ready to serve
To the glorious memory of all Americans who sacrificed their lives in the World war—1914 to 1918."
As a memorial to her husband and son, Sallie Maxwell Bennett donated the Bennett mansion on Court Avenue to the city of Weston, West Virginia in December 1921, to be held in perpetuity as "The Louis Bennett Public Library and Welfare Center." She also commissioned The Aviator, a bronze statue by Augustus Lukeman, which was unveiled on the grounds of the Linsly School in Wheeling, West Virginia on Armistice Day, 1925. Louis Bennett Field, in Weston, West Virginia, was also named in honor of Louis Bennett Jr.
 
Victories
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 15 Aug 1918 1200 40 S.E.5a (E3947) Fokker D.VII Brebieres
2 17 Aug 1918 0740 40 S.E.5a (E3947) LVG C 1 E of Henin-Lietard
3 17 Aug 1918 0800 40 S.E.5a (E3947) Balloon SE of Merville
4 19 Aug 1918 1000 40 S.E.5a (E3947) Balloon E of Merville
5 19 Aug 1918 1010 40 S.E.5a (E3947) Balloon E of Merville
6 19 Aug 1918 1340 40 S.E.5a (E3947) Balloon E of Merville
7 19 Aug 1918 1341 40 S.E.5a (E3947) Balloon E of Merville
8 22 Aug 1918 0620 40 S.E.5a (C9258) Balloon W of Don
9 22 Aug 1918 0630 40 S.E.5a (C9258) Balloon E of La Bassée
10 23 Aug 1918 0715 40 S.E.5a (C9258) LVG C Quierry la Mottee
11 24 Aug 1918 1225 40 S.E.5a (E3947) Balloon Provin
12 24 Aug 1918 1230 40 S.E.5a (E3947) Balloon Hantay

1 Shared with Lt F H Knobel
 
Books
American Aces of World War 1
by Norman Franks, Harry Dempsey (Illustrator) / Paperback / Osprey Publishing (September 25, 2001)
Over the Front
by Norman L. R. Franks, Frank W. Bailey / Hardcover / Grub Street the Basement (May 1992)
In Clouds of Glory: American Airmen Who Flew With The British During The Great War
by James J. Hudson / Paperback / University of Arkansas Press (October 1, 1990)
 
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