James F. Bonham  

Servicenumber : 2720768
Rank : Serjeant
Regiment : The Glider Pilot Regiment
Unit : 2nd Wing
Date of Death : Between 19-09-1944 and 20-09-1944
Age : 24
Grave : Plot 3. Row D. Grave 20.
James Bonham served with C Squadron. Together with John West he was flying a Horsa glider (CN 124) to Arnhem. They left from Tarant Rushton airfield. The horsa was carrying a jeep and four Polish gunners of 1 Troop, Polish Anti-Tank Battery. It crashed on Johannahoeve near Oosterbeek on 19 september. Bonham and West died instantly. The four Polish paratroopers were wounded, but survived.
In the book 'Glider Pilots at Arnhem' (Mike Peters and Luuk Buist 2009) sergeant Tom Pearce of the Glider Pilot Regiment is quoted about what happened (page 182): 'One Horsa had just cast off at about 1,500 feet when there was a black burst very near the glider that immediately went into a vertical dive. It looked to be doing 200 mph. At about 500 feet it levelled off....the 'G' force was so strong that it broke the back of the Horsa and the inverted shallow 'V' it now formed went along in the air until it ploughe into the ground a few hunderd yards from us. The cockpit broke away from the fuselage and went along the ground like a huge 'spinning top'
According to the Roll of Honour published by the Society of Friends of the Airborne Museum (Jan Hey 1999 and 2011) Bonham was given a field burial south of a copse close to the glider.
Picture: 23-09-2012

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