Robert Benoist

Photo added by Paul Narramore

Robert Benoist

Motor racing driver and War Hero. Born in Rambouillet, Ile-de-France, France, Robert Marcel Charles Benoist served during World War I firstly in the infantry then as a fighter pilot in the Armee de l'Air (French Air Force). After the War he began competing in road races and rallies before becoming a works driver for Delage in 1924. In 1925 he won the French GP. In 1927 he won the French, Spanish, Italian and British GPs, a feat never before achieved and was awarded the Legion d'Honneur. Delage retired from motor racing and Benoist joined the Bugatti team. The following year he won the Spa 24hr race in an Alfa Romeo. At the end of the season he retired but returned in 1934 to the Bugatti team. In 1937 he partnered his friend Jean-Pierre Wimille to win the Le Mans 24hr race, then retired for good. Wimille and Benoist were also good friends with another driver William Grover-Williams and with the outbreak of WW2, all three escaped to Britain where they trained with the SOE (Special Operations Unit) as special agents to return to France and work with the French Resistance. Grover-Williams and Benoist were parachuted into France where they organised sabotage cells from Benoists' home in Auffargis. In June 1943, as the result of an informant, part of the network in Paris collapsed and Grover-Williams was caught and executed. Three days later Benoist was also arrested but jumped from the speeding Gestapo car to return to Britain. He returned to France on two more missions but was eventually arrested and sent to Buchenwald concentration camp where he was executed.


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  • Created by: Paul Narramore
  • Added: 28 Mar 2006
  • Find A Grave Memorial 13766650
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Robert Benoist (20 Mar 1895–9 Sep 1944), Find A Grave Memorial no. 13766650, citing Buchenwald Concentration Camp Memorial, Buchenwald, Weimarer Stadtkreis, Thüringen, Germany ; Maintained by Paul Narramore (contributor 46601741) .