Captain Ian Benson took over as Intelligence Officer Commanding Auxiliary Units in Sussex during the Summer of 1942.
Very quickly he met with Patrol Leaders and visited the patrols throughout Sussex; laying down a training programme for greater efficiency and forestalling any staleness. He was fondly remembered by all the Sussex Auxiliers interviewed, whose training clearly benefited from the variety and structured approach he applied.
Ian really was a bright spark even in his later years, so he must have brought that same special energy in his youth to the Auxiliary Units. His travelling round England to train Auxiliers – alone and almost exclusively at night – is not mentioned (if recollection is right) in the established Aux Units texts, and it must be wondered how many others there were and are who deserve the praise that Ian Benson rightly does.
In 1944 Ian returned to Coleshill and was the camps last Commandant before the end of the war.
In 2011 Ian flew over from his home in Ireland to attend a special one day event at Tottington Manor (The former training HQ for Sussex). This was the first time he had spoken in public of his time in the Resistance and his memories were captured on film the highlights of which you can see below.
Bill Ashby has prepared a full military page on Ian and this can be seen here.
Ian passed away peacefully last Saturday, October 6th, in Fermoy Hospital.
Ian was the last of the senior Aux commanding staff and a true inspiration to me and many. Like most WW2 servicemen he always underplayed his contribution but we know just how hard he worked to ensure we had a well trained resistance network. Thank you for all that you gave. – Tom Sykes (CART Founder)
A great gentleman and character (who led my father and said very nice things about him). Sadly missed. – Bill Ashby (CIO Coleshill)
He made an enormous contribution to the effectiveness of all Auxiliary Unit patrols and his thoroughness in striving for the best paid off. My thoughts and prayers are with his immediate family at this sad time. – David Blair (CIO for Scotland)
So sad to hear about Captain Benson, this generation of men and women will be sadly missed when they are all gone. My thoughts are with his family. – Andy Gwynne (CIO for Yorkshire)
Ian will be much missed.
Thanks to Bill Ashby (CIO for Coleshill), Steve Mason (CIO for Hampshire) and Stewart Angell (CIO for Sussex) and the other CART CIO’s for their contributions.