Private 15360 Samuel Bennett

 Bennett Samuel 96 422x600

Died of Wounds on Saturday, 6th November 1915, age 23.
Buried in Grave II. C. 73. at Sailly-sur-la-Lys Canadian Cemetery, Pas De Calais, France.

9th Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment (Pioneers). Pioneer Battalion of 23rd Division.

Son of Mrs Ursula Bennett, of 95, Baptist End, Netherton, Dudley, and the late John Bennett.
Born: Dudley, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Netherton.

First landed France & Flanders, 24th August 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, and Dudley Clock Tower memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/187071/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
76 Simms Lane, Netherton, Dudley, Worcs.
Ursula Bennett (43, Widow, Nailmaker, born Dudley), and her 4 children: Joseph (18, Coal Miner - Horse Driver, born Dudley), William (11, born Dudley), Samuel (9, born Dudley), Agnes (5, born Dudley).

1911 Census.
62 Simms Lane, Netherton, Dudley, Worcs.
Ursilla Bennett (55, Widow, born Netherton), and 3 of her 6 children: William (21, Miner - Loader, born Netherton), Samuel (19, Miner - Horse Driver Underground, born Netherton) and Agnes (15, Boot and Shoe Making Machinist, born Netherton).

Personal Data

The Tipton Library Memorial commemorates ‘S. Bennett’; the 'Staffordshire Roll of Honour' records Pte. S. Bennett, South Staffs. None of the 4 men named S. Bennett killed with the South Staffs has an obvious Tipton connection, and this has been a mystery for many years.

The most likely always seemed Pte. 15360 Samuel Bennett, 9th South Staffs who was born and resident in Dudley, but enlisted in Tipton. It was only with the release of the Pension Cards, saved from destruction by the Western Front Association, that this mystery has been resolved.

The Pension Card for a Dependant Pension for his mother, Mrs Ursula Bennett, initially shows her address as Hill Street, Netherton, but later amended to ‘Care of Mrs Morris, Brewery Street, Tipton’. Mrs Morris was Agnes Morris, Ursula’s youngest child, who had married Ethelbert Morris in 1914. It seems that Samuel’s mother asked for her son’s name to be added to the Tipton Memorial as she was by that time a Tipton resident. Agnes and Ursula were still living at 4 Brewery Street at the time of the 1939 ‘census’.

Samuel’s brother, William Henry Bennett, also lost his life in the Great War. He was serving with the 4th Worcesters when taken Prisoner of War during the Gallipoli campaign, and died in Hadji-Kiri camp in the Taurus mountains of Turkey. His records show that he died from “malignant fevers whilst prisoner of war”. After the war, all bodies from the minor cemeteries of ‘Asia Minor’ were moved to Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery in Mesopotamia, now Iraq.

After Samuel’s death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £2/16/9d (2 pounds, 16 shillings and 9 pence); this was paid to his mother and Sole Legatee, Ursula, in January 1916. His War Gratuity was £3/0/0d (3 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his mother in July 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Samuel had enlisted within the previous 12 months.

Ursula was granted a Dependant’s Pension for Samuel, this was 5/0d (5 shillings) per week from 2nd October 1916, increasing to 12/6d (12 shillings and 6 pence) per week from 1st September 1917. The pension was granted for life, as Mrs Bennett was described as “wholly impaired”.

Action resulting in his death

Samuel served with the 9th Battalion, South Staffs (9/SS) who were the Pioneer Battalion for the 23rd Division. Although Pioneer battalions were trained as infantry, to some degree, their war was mainly fought with pick and shovel rather than rifle. In extreme situations, they could be used to add extra manpower to the infantry units.

In November 1915, the 9/SS were situated near Rue Marle and L'Armée, about a mile south of Armentières in French Flanders, very close to the Belgian border. The 4 Companies of the Battalion were allocated to different tasks, in different locations. We do not know which Company Samuel belonged to.

Samuel is recorded a having died of wounds at 26 Field Ambulance on 6th November, and is buried at Sailly-sur-la-Lys Canadian Cemetery. As this cemetery is close to Armentières, it is likely that Samuel was wounded on the day of his death, or no earlier than 5th November, otherwise he would have been further back in the Casualty Clearing Chain.

One of the 4 Companies reports for the 5th November “All men working again in Railway Avenue, shelled intermittently all afternoon and evening”. It is possible, but can never be proven, that this may have been the incident in which Samuel received the wounds which lead to his death.

His mother, Ursula, provided the words engraved on his gravestone “A loving son, a brother kind, a beautiful memory left behind (Mother)”.

Newspaper Cuttings