RAF Australians - Air Commodore Benjamin James Silly (MC) (DFC)

Discussion in 'Biographies' started by spidge, Jan 29, 2010.

  1. spidge

    spidge Active Member

    Air Commodore Benjamin James Silly (MC) (DFC)
    I have entered Air Commodore Benjamin James Silly (MC) (DFC) next on the list after receiving some further information.

    Australian by birth, he began work as a clerk with Thomas Pulman & Co and from 1909 to April 1911 worked in Switzerland. He was a qualified interpreter in German.

    On 5th February 1942, he was sent to Batavia to set up a rear base for the reception of equipment and personnel evacuated from Singapore. This involved setting up six transit camps and the processing of 12,000 men in an attempt to sort them out and evacuate as many as possible, an incredibly difficult task in view of the chaos.

    From: Pacific Maru POW roster (POWs of the Japanese)

    This roster contains two groups of names. The first is a list 74 men transported from Tangong Priok, Java, to Singapore aboard the Pacific Maru at the end of 1942. These same men were loaded aboard Aki Maru on 10 Jan 1943 for transport to Takao, Formosa, arriving there on 30 Jan 1943.

    Benjamin James Silly, Air Cdre; Br; AOC RAF Base Java; 2950; Shirakawa; died in captivity 7 Dec 1943.

    Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross in WW1

    Lieut. (T./Capt.) Benjamin James Silly, M.C.

    For exceptional skill and gallantry on long-distance raids, in 47 of which he has been engaged, and has been the leader on 22 occasions. Within the past month he led a formation of bombers which accomplished their object notwithstanding that the enemy scouts were encountered almost from the start, and at the destination they numbered 40 machines. Capt. Silly's formation destroyed four enemy aircraft, and returned without losing a single machine.

    (London Gazette – 21 September 1918)

    Air Commodore B J Silly

    Benjamin James b: xx Jul 1893 d: 7 Dec 1943

    MC - 4 Mar 1918,

    DFC - 21 Sep 1918.

    (Army):- (T) 2 Lt (P): 5 Sep 1916, (T) Capt: 29 Nov 1917.

    (RAF):- (T) Capt [Lt]: 1 Apr 1918,

    Capt: xx xxx 1918,

    Act Maj: 20 Sep 1918,

    Flt Lt: 1 Aug 1919 [1 Apr 1918],

    Sqn Ldr: 1 Jul 1928,

    Wg Cdr: 1 Jan 1935,

    Gp Capt: 1 Nov 1938,

    Act A/Cdre: xx xxx xxxx,

    (T) A/Cdre: xx xxx 1942?,

    A/Cdre: xx xxx xxxx.

    xx xxx 1914: Private, 2nd (Public Schools) Battalion, Royal Fusiliers

    xx xxx xxxx: Private, 4th (Public Schools) Battalion, Royal Fusiliers

    2 Sep 1916: Officer, Royal Field Artillery

    5 Sep 1916, U/T Pilot, RFC

    4 Apr 1917: Flying Officer, RFC.

    29 Nov 1917: Flight Commander, No 55 Sqn RFC/RAF

    20 Sep 1918: Officer Commanding, No 55 Sqn. (DH4 – Ind AF)

    xx Jan 1919:

    1 Aug 1919: Awarded Permanent Commission as a Captain

    24 Dec 1919: Staff/Instructor, School of Technical Training (Boys).

    16 Mar 1920: Staff/Instructor, No 1 School of Technical Training (Boys).

    15 Nov 1921: Attended Instructors' Course, CFS

    15 Feb 1922: Instructor, No 5 FTS.

    14 Sep 1923: Flight Commander, No 55 Sqn.

    8 Oct 1925: Personnel Staff, HQ RAF Middle East.

    22 May 1927: Supernumerary, RAF Depot.

    19 Sep 1927: Attended RAF Staff College.

    ?17 Dec 1928: Staff, HQ Wessex Bombing Area.

    15 Jan 1932: Staff, Superintendent of RAF Reserve.

    13 Apr - 8 Jun 1934: Placed on half pay list, scale A

    11 Jun 1934: Air Staff, HQ Iraq Command.

    14 Jan 1936: Attended Imperial Defence College.

    7 Jan 1937: Staff, Directorate of Organisation.

    19 Oct 1938: Officer Commanding, RAF Pembroke Dock.

    5 Aug 1939: Group Captain - ?, HQ RAF Far East.

    xx xxx 1940: SASO, HQ RAF Far East.

    5 Feb 1942: AOC?, Rear Base, Batavia. (AHQ Sumatra?)

    xx xxx 1942 Prisoner of War

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