On Thursday 13 June, 1940 a large number of friends and neighbours of Douglas’s gathered in the Zone township hall to honour him before he departed to join the RCAF. Mrs. Fred Maynard presided over the evenings program which included readings, solos and speeches. Mrs. Alvin Card read an address and Mrs. T. Lawson, on behalf of the community presented Douglas with a Westfield wrist watch. At the close of the program Jean McTavish read an address and Mark Card presented him with a signet ring,”a token of remembrance from the Library Society. Both tokens and the program “were suitably replied to.” After a lunch each person present left a personal remembrance by autographing the booklet presented by the Literary Society.
The following address was made:
13 June, 1940.
It was with mingled feelings of sadness and pride that we heard that you had been accepted as a member of the Canadian Branch of the Royal Air Force. We shall certainly miss you while you are away. It will be impossible for anyone else to fill your place in any of the various acticities with which you have always been associated.
But every day our hearts are full of gratitude to all those who are fighting for us on land or sea or in the air. We are so thankful to those who are doing their utmost to save for us our homes, our churches, our freedon and everything else we value so dearly.
We realize that it is the most courageous and finest men, like you, who make the best soldiers – that it is the best of the land who are responding to their country’s call. We have gathered here to tell you that we are proud of you and that we are greatful to you for your part in saving our country.We want you to know that we appreciate the sacrifice that so many are offering in our behalf.
We want to assure you of our interest in your welfare wherever you may be. We hope this gift will remind you of the kind thoughts of the people of this community. With it go the very best wishes of everyone of us.
May the Heavenly Father keep you and care for you and bring you save home again.
Signed on behalf of
LAC. Douglas in June of 1941 was stationed in Saskatoon, Sask., when he was given a two week leave to visit his mother in Bothwell and again in July. BT 26/06/41 and 3/07/41.
On 12 December, 1944 a mass investiture was held at Government House, Ottawa, ON for 54 member of the RCAF and one member of the Polish Air Force for various awards. On that list was Sgt. Douglas Glenn Bebensee. Awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (DCM), his citation reads as follows:
“One night in April, 1943, Sgt Bebensee was flight engineer in an aircraft which attacked Stettin. Whilst over the target area the bomber was struct by falling incendiary bombs. One of them which lodged behind the pilot’s seat jammed the aileron and rudder controls. Flames and smoke rapidly filled the cockpit and PO Sherk’s clothing caught alight. The aircraft began to loose height diving steeply, PO Sherk endeavored to regain control whilst FO McGladrey attempted to subdue the flames. Meanwhile Sgt. Bebensee struggled to free the locked controls. Just as the situation appeared hopeless the pilot regained control. Sgt. Bebensee who worked untiringly for three quarters of an hour succeeded in freeing the controls and the pilot flew the badly-damaged bomber back to this country.”[England].
Distinguished Flying Medal
KIA - Date of Death: 14/07/1943, Flying in Halifax Pathfinder bomber HR 905, target Aachen crashed at Venlo, Holland. Also killed in crash were S/L (P) D. L. Wolfe D.F.C., G. G. McGladrey D.F.C., F/L R. G. Morrison D.F.C., P/O T. H. Emerson D.F.M., P/O E. M. Witt. F/O Clark survived and was takes as a POW.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead, Grave/Memorial Reference: 16. E. 5.
Cemetery: JONKERBOS WAR CEMETERY. Bothwell History Book. Index of Overseas Deaths. . “They Shall Not Grow Old , CDN 14/01/45”.
Son of Mrs. H. Bebessee of Bothwell, Kent Co., ON.