Duncan CenotaphCharles Hoey Park

As part of our project to document the names on the Duncan Cenotaph in Charles Hoey Park in downtown Duncan, here is a page on Sergeant Richmond Douglas Starkey-Bence, who died 5 September 1941, aged 25, while serving with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in the U.K. His plane crashed in the English Channel and he has no known grave. He is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, U.K.

Here are the local newspaper report of his death:

“Chemainus Boy Is Killed In Channel Crash

Sgt. Richmond D. Starkey-Bence (Ross), wireless air gunner in the R.A.F., reported missing last week, is now reported killed when his plane crashed in the English Channel.

He was born in England in July 1916, the son of Capt. and Mrs.  C.D.B. Starkey-Bence (Ross), his father being then in the 13th Royal Sussex Regiment.  In 1919 he came to Chemainus with his parents, who subsequently returned in 1938 to England where his father inherited a large estate and by deed poll his name was changed from Ross to Starkey-Bence.

In May 1939 Mrs. Starkey-Bence returned to Chemainus to visit her father, Mr. R.B. Halhed, leaving for England in July 1939, accompanied by her son. At the outbreak of war Richmond immediately enlisted in the Royal Air Force. He had been flying on convoy duty for some time this year, attached to the Coastal Patrol.

Sgt. Starkey-Bence, a grandson of Mr. R.B. Halhed, and a nephew of Mrs. W.C. Cryer and Mr. M.F. Halhed, all of Chemainus, and Mr. F.A. Halhed, of Fort Langley, was educated at Chemainus, Shawnigan Lake School and Vancouver Technical School.”

(Source: Cowichan Leader, 9 October 1941, from Cowichan Valley Museum & Archives collections)

Here are some websites with more information about Sergeant Richmond Douglas Starkey-Bence:

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