Bennett J.A.

JAMES ALBERT BENNETT (1891-1915)

S/11071 Private J.A. Bennett, 1st Battalion, the Gordon Highlanders was killed in action 25 September 1915 and is buried at Halluin Communal Cemetery, France.[1]  He was 24 years old and is commemorated on the Butterknowle War Memorial and the memorial plaque in St. John the Evangelist Church, Lynesack.

Family Details

James Albert was born 21 July 1891[2] at Gateshead, the son of John F. and Margaret Bennett.  There were at least 4 children, all born at Gateshead:

  • Frederick bc.1883
  • Thomas bc.1886
  • Jane bc.1888
  • James Albert born 1891

In 1901 the family lived at 3 Hubert Terrace, Gateshead.[3]  By 1911, 19 year old James lived at Thorpe Moor House, Castle Eden with the Dean family and worked as a farm labourer. [4]  James enlisted at Barnard Castle [5] so presumably, by then he’d moved over to the Gaunless Valley area and found work on a farm in the Butterknowle locality.  CWGC records that Mrs. B. Arkless provided details for his epitaph.[6]  A branch of the Arkless family lived in the Evenwood area to the east of Butterknowle and perhaps a family connection was responsible for J.A. Bennett finding work.

Service Details

James Bennett enlisted at Barnard Castle 31 August 1914 aged 23 years 1 month.  He was 5’8” tall and worked as a miner.  He was posted 22 June 1915 and joined 1st Battalion, Cavalry Regiment from the 4th Reserve Cavalry and given the regimental number 14298.  He was then transferred to the 3rd Gordon Highlanders and was given the regimental number S/11071.  Finally, he was transferred to the 1st Gordon Highlanders. [7]

He served with the 1st Battalion (possibly “D” Company), the 1/Gordon Highlanders which was a Regular Army battalion which landed at Boulogne, France 14 August 1914 as part of the 8th Brigade, 3rd Division.[8]  By September 1915, other units in the 8th Brigade were: [9]

  • 2nd, Royal Scots
  • 4th, the Middlesex Regiment
  • 2nd, the Suffolk Regiment
  • 1/4th, Gordon Highlanders

The battalion took heavy casualties at Le Cateau, 26 August 1914 and it saw further action throughout 1914 at the Battles of the Marne, Aisne, La Bassee and Messines and then the Battle of Ypres.  In 1915, it was involved in the Winter Operations of 1914-15, the First Attack on Bellewaarde, the Actions at Hooge, 19 July and then the Second Attack on Bellewaarde, 25-26 September 1915.[10]

Private J Bennett entered France 22 June 1915 [11] joining the battalion as a draft.  He was killed in action 25 September 1915, this being the date of the commencement of the Battle of Loos. The battalion did not take part in the main show but subsidiary action in support, the Second Attack on Bellewaarde, to the north near Ypres.

1/Gordon Highlanders: in action [12]

18 June-2 July: at Brandlock, Belgium

12/13 July: Hooge, some casualties suffered

19 July: delivered an attack on trenches at Hooge, some losses.

10/11 August: in trenches Square 134C continuous occupation until

23 August: back to Oududown bivouac for the rest of the month

September: back to the trenches at Hooge, relieved by 3/Worcesters 12 September.

13-17 September: Heavy bombardment by British artillery answered by the enemy.

22 September: back to Hooge trenches

25 September: big attack by 3rd and 14th Divisions with Royal Scots Fusiliers, 1/Gordons, 4/Gordons, 2/Royal Scots, 2/South Lancashire Regt., and Royal Irish Rifles involved.  This attack was repulsed by the enemy whose trenches and wire were not affected by the heavy bombardment, the wire could not be cut by our cutters and very heavy casualties suffered.  Returned to bivouac 26th and back to the trenches 29th September and attacked enemy occupied trenches.

Later research records that there between 25 and 30 September 1915, 1/Gordon Highlanders suffered 3 officers and 94 other ranks killed in action or died of wounds.  2 officers and 84 other ranks including Private J.A. Bennett were killed in action 25 September 1915.[13]

S/11071 Private J.A. Bennett was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War and Victory medals. [14]

Burial

Private J.A. Bennett is buried at grave reference C.10. Halluin Communal Cemetery.  Halluin is an industrial town in the Department of Nord, France to the south of Menin, which is across the river Lys in Belgium.  There are 35 burials of Commonwealth servicemen.  He was originally buried at plot J.3 and his date of death was given as 27 September 1915.[15]  Graves were regrouped and he was buried at plot C.10.  Schedule A indicates that he died 25 September 1915.

Schedule B records that Mrs. B. Arkless, 3 Castle Place, Gateshead provided the epitaph:[16]

Lest We Forget

References:

[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] England & Wales Birth Index Vol.10a p.924 Gateshead 1891 Q3 & ancestry family tree for exact date

[3] 1901 census

[4] 1911 census

[5] Soldiers Died in the Great War

[6] CWGC supplementary details

[7] Service Record compiled by Paul Simpson (microfilm 1386)) & SDGW –this source records that he was in the 1st Battalion.  The CWGC certificate records him to be in the 16th Battalion but on further examination, it is confirmed that he served with the 1st, possibly D Company.

[8] http://www.1914-1918.net/gordon.htm

[9] http://www.1914-1918.net/3div.htm

[10] www.1914-1918.net/3div.htm & http://www.warpath.orbat.com/battles_ff/1915.htm

[11] Medal Roll card index

[12] http://www.thegordonhighlanders.co.uk/Pages/Diary.htm#1915

[13] Officers & Soldiers Died in the Great War

[14] Medal Roll card index

[15] Army Form W.3372 and revised certified report.

[16] CWGC Note: Service Details record that Mrs. Annie Arkless, 3 Castle Place, Bensham Road, Gateshead his sister received his possessions.  His medals were received by Mr. John Bennett, 40 Ridley St., Stanley his father.

 

 

Photographs:

BENNETT J.A. Press Photo

BENNETT J.A.
Press Photo

S. Robinson & possibly J.A. Bennett

S. Robinson & possibly J.A. Bennett

BENNETT J.A. Headstone

BENNETT J.A.
Headstone

BENNETT J.A. Medal Roll

BENNETT J.A.
Medal Roll

One thought on “Bennett J.A.

  1. Pingback: BUTTERKNOWLE | The Fallen Servicemen of Southwest County Durham

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