Benjamin Vos was well-known in Del Ray. He and his wife Lollie moved to Alexandria from Bedford County in 1928 and that year Benjamin took over the lease on Del Ray's movie house, the five-year-old Palm Theater at 2402 Mt Vernon Avenue. The theater was one of the civic centers of town, for it not only showed movies, but also hosted meetings, speeches and graduations. He saved his money and bought a gas station at 2313 Mt Vernon Ave. The family, including Benjamin Jr, lived at 1010 Mt Vernon Avenue until Lollie passed away in 1935 and the two older children moved out, when father and son moved into the apartment above the movie theater.

Benjamin Jr, known as BJ, played on the GWHS football team and graduated in 1941,  having specialized in the science curriculum. He registered for the draft on 16 February 1942, at which point he stood 5' 10” tall and weighed 163 lbs. He enlisted into the Army Air Corps on 26 March, showed aptitude and was selected for pilot training, eventually being chosen to fly the P-51 Mustang fighter. He was promoted to 1st lieutenant in May 1944. He was regarded as a very promising pilot and when the 359th Fighter Group based in England transitioned from the P-47 Thunderbolt to the P-51 Vos was assigned there to train them on the new aircraft.

Normally the P-51 was used for high-altitude bomber escort but on 10 September 1944 they were sent to do some low-level strafing attacks on German rail lines. Coming over a hill Vos' “Yellow Flight” saw a dream diorama – German fighters and bombers sitting on the ground at Würzburg airfield. It looked too good to be true, and it was. It was a trap. The aircraft were dummies and the Germans had filled the area round the base with anti-aircraft guns. Vos' aircraft was hit repeatedly, crashed and burned on the airfield, killing him instantly. He was awarded his second Air Medal and when his body was recovered after the war was buried in the Lorraine American Cemetery in France.

At right, BJ's high school senior photo, in which he was noted for his "light-heartedness and determination".

World War Two Losses

Bejamin J Vos, Jr