Son of Charles and Bertha Bentley. Husband of Margaret Bentley. Gateway School 1929-34
Operation Varsity was designed to gain a foothold across the River Rhine in western Germany. It began on the 24th March 1945, led by the British 6th Airborne Division (which, at the time, included the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion), and the US 17th Airborne Division, in addition to ground offensive operations. In all 4,978 British and 9,387 American troops were flown in by glider or dropped by parachute.
The 4th Airlanding Anti-Tank Battery R.A. began forming up on 9 May 1943, at Marlborough Barracks, Bulford, Wiltshire under the command of Major T.H.P. Dixon, M.C., R.A. The nucleus for the unit came from ‘D’ Battery, 103rd Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery.
This battery, along with the 3rd Airlanding Anti-Tank Battery, was formed to provide the anti-tank defence for the two parachute brigade’s of the 6th Airborne Division. It was officially taken on the strength of the 6th Airborne Division on 9 July 1943.
By May 1944 the Battery had completed all their training, had been on extensive exercise with the units they were to support, and had carried
out practice ‘shoots’ with the new ‘Sabot’ ammunition. They had also carried out training and practice ‘shoots’ with the glider pilots who would fly them into action.
Sergeant Bentley was killed during the the first day of the operation. He is buried in Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany, Grave 39. A. 8.
History Information Reichswald Forest War Cemetery was created after the Second World War when burials were brought in from all over western Germany and is the largest Commonwealth cemetery in the country. Some of those members of the land forces buried there died in the advance through Reichswald Forest in February 1945. Others died crossing the Rhine, among them members of the airborne forces whose bodies were brought from Hamminkeln, where landings were made by the 6th Airborne Division from bases in England. Some of the airmen buried in the cemetery lost their lives in supporting the advance into Germany, but most died earlier in the war in the intensive air attacks over Germany. Their graves were brought in from cemeteries and isolated sites in the surrounding area. There are now 7,594 Commonwealth servicemen of the Second World War buried or commemorated in the cemetery. 176 of the burials are unidentified.
There are also 78 war graves of other nationalities, most of them Polish. Special Memorials to 9 airmen are located at the East boundary wall, near Plot 10. Further Special Memorials to 7 airmen are located within Plot 31, near the Cross of Sacrifice. The cemetery was designed by Philip Hepworth.