William & Josephine — Family Page last modified:

Veterans of War
Generations No 3 & 4

Our first war veteran is Wilhelm Benitz himself.  He served as a private in the army of the Republic of Texas (October, 1836, to August, 1837), and may have served earlier, in the battle of San Jacinto (April, 1836) when the Texians secured their independence from the Mexican dictator Santa Ana.  We also know that two of his nephews partook in the US Civil War: John J. Benitz (Pensylvania, Union), Otto Erichson (Texas, Confederacy).

However, on this page we focus on the family members who served in the two world wars of the twentieth century.  All were volunteers.  Most joined up for the duration to fight for their ideals far from their homeland.  We dedicate this page to two who made the ultimate sacrifice: Frank Allyn Benitz (WW-I) and James Stanley Watt (WW-II).

For most we have incomplete collections of dry facts gleaned from offical records, newspaper articles, and obituaries.  Few personal records such as diaries and letters have survived.  As any of us who have questioned our parents and grandparents know, the volunteers are reticent to tell us of their experiences.  Well aware of their friends who did not make it, they are reluctant to talk lest it be thought they are tooting their own horns.  And, for us, it is impossible to imagine what horrors they went through never having experienced anything of the kind ourselves.  That said, however, the Argentine historians Claudio Meunier and Oscar Rimondi have gathered a huge amount of information, including interviews, about the volunteers who joined the air forces during WW-II.  They have published this information in their books Alas de Trueno (in both Spanish and English: Wings of Thunder) and Nacidos con Honor (Spanish only), as well as in documentaries for TV.  The books are hard to find but well worth reading; all family members are mentioned, some in great detail, likely more than we will here.  We will add information as we receive it - so please feel free to add / correct / improve what we have.

Note: In the lists below, the X icon next to a person’s name provides a link to more detail about that person.  Should you visit a person’s detailed pages, the above navigation menus will have been replaced with those of the person.  To return here, please use the back-arrow.


Generation Nº 3: World War I (The Great War) — 1914-1918

The following is an incomplete list of William & Josephine’s grandchildren and their spouses who volunteered for service.  The Benitz family members all grew up in Argentina.  As did George Roberts, however, the other spouses (husbands) were Brits who had emigrated to Argentina and worked on Benitz estancias (ranches) before the war.  Much of the following we gleaned from obituaries, official records, and "Activities of the British Community in Argentina during the Great War 1914 - 1919" (Published by "The British Society in the Argentine Republic" & printed by "The Buenos Aires Herald", 1920).

Elspeth Josephine “Elsie” Benitz
Ambulance driver
Frank Allyn Benitz   X
Lieutenant, R.F.C. / R.A.F. Sqdn. 33 — kia: 5 August 1918, England
Josephine E. “Jo” Benitz
Women's Legion Motor Drivers, R.A.S.C.
Josephine May “Nena” Benitz
Ambulance driver, British Red Cross
Stanley Robert Jeans (spouse: Katie Benitz)
Captain, 2nd. Bn., The Duke of Edinburgh's (The Wiltshire Reg., infantry reserves)
Edward Graham Paul (spouse: "Nena" Benitz)
2nd Lieutenant, 14th Hussars
George Roberts (spouse: Marion Benitz)
Major, 123rd. Bde., R.F.A. — DSO, MC & 2 bars, mentioned in despatches
Thomas Mansel Sympson (spouse: Elsie Benitz)
Lieutenant, East Riding of Yorkshire, M.G. Bn., Yeomanry, T.F.
James Howard Webster (spouse: "Jo" Benitz)
Captain, 2nd. Chesire Yeomanry, T.F.

Generation Nº 4: World War II — 1939-1945

The following is an incomplete list (still in the making) of William & Josephine’s great-grandchildren and their spouses who volunteered for service.  Most grew up in Argentina; of these, the majority came off estancias.

J. Frank M. Bell
Squadron Leader, RCAF — DFC, AFC, CD
Marie Simon (spouse: Frank Bell)
Warrant Officer, WAAF
Ken F.H. Hale (spouse: Jean Bell)
Squadron Leader, RCAF
Charles A. Benitz
Lieutenant, 13th/18th Royal Hussars, Royal Armoured Corps, British Army
F. Malcolm Benitz   X
Flight Lieutenant, RCAF — DFC
A.G.M. "Gertie" Traill/Hall (spouse: F.M.Benitz)
Section Officer, WAAF
Michael Le Bas (spouse: Moyra Benitz)
Air Vice-Marshal, RAF — DSO, AFC, CB, CBE
Josephine E. “Jo” Benitz-Webster
driver (general's chauffer), American Ambulance Corps (she also served in WW-I)
John H. Horner
Flying Officer, RCAF
Oscar Sundt (spouse: Mary Horner)
Sub Lieutenant, Fleet Air Arm, RN
James R. B. “Jimmy” Roberts
Captain, Indian Armoured Corps., Indian Army
William B. “Billy” Roberts
ABS (submarines), RN
Marjory Mabel Sympson
Lieutenant, Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps
Nancy Sympson
 lorry/truck driver, ATS, British Army
Hillary J. “Poro” Sympson   X
Captain, 6th Gurkha Rifles, 43rd Gurkha Lorried Brigade, Indian Army
Rodney T. "Rod" Sympson
Lieutenant, 13th Battalion, The King’s Regiment, 77th Indian Infantry Brigade “Chindits”, Indian Army
Rosemary Sympson
Royal Army Ordinance Corps (RAOC), British Army
Burton G. Pagnam (spouse: Rosemary Sympson)
Flight Lieutenant, RAF
C. Alpin Watt
Group Captain, RAF
Frank A. Watt
Flight Lieutenant, RAF — DFC
James S. “Jimmy” Watt   X
Flight Lieutenant, RAF — DSO, DFC — kia: 22 June 1943, The Netherlands
Percy M. Watt
Squadron Leader, RAF — kia: 13 november 1939, England
Josephine "Josie" Webster
___, ATS
Agar M. Lockwood (spouse: Josie Webster)
___, Royal Canadian Artillery

© Peter Benitz (Benitz Family)