960650 12 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Benjamin Dove, known as Ben was born on 12th October 1919, the son of Albert John and Jennie (nèe Hills) Dove. The family lived at 6 King Street, Sudbury. Ben had 2 older brothers Edward and Ronald and a younger sister Mary. The eldest brother was in full term service with the Fire Service in Colchester from the outbreak of war, the other served in the Royal Air Force. His sister served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service.
Ben’s father was a well-known baker and caterer in the town and his ‘Dove’s Mother’s Cake’ was popular all over the county. He was also a Town Councillor and a member of the Sudbury Trader’s Association. From the outbreak of war he served as an air raid warden. Ben’s parents retired in 1941 and moved from Sudbury to Norfolk.
Ben attended Sudbury Grammar School from September 1930 – November 1935. His first employment on leaving school was with Norman Green, Chartered Accountant and then as a clerk in the Borough Surveyors Office. He had plans on eventually working his way up to take the place of his boss however; he enlisted in the Royal Air Force in June 1940.
Ben was a wireless operator/air gunner on Vickers Wellington II bombers. In 1942 No.12 (Bomber) Squadron was based at RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire and took part in air attacks over Europe including German ports, Berlin and the Ruhr. Findon Row, another Sudbury man who is also remembered on the Sudbury War Memorial served with No.12 Squadron at the same time as Ben.
On 26th March 1942 Ben’s plane was shot down over the North Sea during an operational flight. He was reported ‘missing’, his body was washed ashore 18 months later and he was buried in Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery, Netherlands. Ben died aged 22, he had been engaged to a local girl and they had made plans for their wedding.
Ben is also remembered on the Trinity Congregational Church Memorial, now in the United Reformed Church, School Street, Sudbury. His father was at one time a Trustee and a Deacon at Trinity Church.
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