Private 10784 Benjamin Whitehouse

 Whitehouse Benjamin 96 374x600

Killed in Action Gallipoli on Sunday, 22nd August 1915, age 33.
Commemorated on Panel 171 and 173 of Helles Memorial, Turkey.

6th Bn., York & Lancaster Regiment. 32nd Brigade of 11th Division.

Son of Thomas Whitehouse; husband of Drucilla Whitehouse, of 13, Maltby St., Denaby Main, Rotherham.
Born: Burnt Tree, Enlisted: Denaby, Yorks, Resident: Denaby, Yorks..

First landed Balkans, 2nd July 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/684342/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Benjamin Whitehouse registered June Quarter 1882 in Dudley.

1901 Census
1 Coneygree Road, Tipton, Staffs.
Thomas Whitehouse (46, Furnace Labourer, born Tipton), his wife Sarah (43, born Dudley), and their 5 children: Joseph (22, Cinder Labourer, born Tipton), Benjamin (18, Brickyard Labourer, born Tipton), Annie (13, born Tipton), Emma (11, born Tipton), and Thomas (7, born Tipton).

Marriage of Benjamin Whitehouse and Drucilla Clee, 29th July 1905 at Tipton Parish Church (St. Martin's Church).

1911 Census
88 Cliff View, Denaby, Yorkshire.
Benjamin Whitehouse (28, Coal Miner - Hewer, born Tipton), his wife Priscilla (26, born Sedgley), and their 3 surviving children of 4: Horace (4, born Burnt Tree, Tipton), Evelyn (2, born Denaby), and Lily (6 months, born Denaby).
A further child, Doris, was born in Denaby on 3rd December 1913. Sadly, Evelyn died in December quarter 1914.

Personal Data

Benjamin's brother Thomas Whitehouse was killed on 15th October 1914 in French Flanders, near Bethune, serving with the Royal Scots Regiment.

Benjamin enlisted with the York & Lancaster Regiment on 16th August 1914 in Denaby, near Rotherham, Yorkshire. He was 5 feet 6½ inches tall, weighed 140 pounds with a 36½-inch chest, and his physical development was noted as good.

Benjamin joined the 6th Battalion, York & Lancaster Regiment and underwent training in Grantham and Witley. During training, Benjamin forfeited pay for an unauthorised absence from 5th to 10th February 1915. His battalion, as part of the 11th (Northern) Division, departed from Liverpool and first landed at Suvla Bay on 6th August 1915.

After Benjamin’s death, his army pay and allowances had been overpaid by £1/6/5d (1 pound, 6 shillings and 5 pence); his relatives were informed of this in November 1915 but there is no indication that they were ever asked to re-pay the balance. His War Gratuity was £3/10/0d (3 pounds and 10 shillings), this was paid to his widow, Druscilla, in August 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Benjamin had enlisted in August 1914.

Druscilla had been receiving a Separation Allowance of 18/6d (18 shillings and 6 pence) per week, plus an allotment from Benjamin’s pay of 4/1d (4 shillings and 1 penny) per week. This ceased on 12th March 1916 when she began to receive a Widow’s Pension of £1/0/6d (1 pound 6 pence) per week for herself and her 3 children.

Action resulting in his death

The 6th Yorks & Lancs (6/Y&L), as part of 11th (Northern) Division, landed at Suvla Bay on 6th August 1915. After landing, they did not take advantage of the element of surprise, and delayed too long on the landing beach before striking inland. This allowed the Turkish defenders to prepare and draft in reinforcements.

Suvla Bay was surrounded by significant hills and ridges which provided the Turks with defensive positions and visibility over the British. Attempts at storming the defensive positions were unsuccessful and costly. The 6/Y&L lost 55 men killed in the 2 weeks between the 7th and 20th August.

For the renewed attack on the hills surrounding Suvla Bay on 21st August, the 29th Division and the dis-mounted 2nd Mounted Division were added to the attacking forces. The 29th Division had been in action in Gallipoli since April 1915 so was well below its establishment, and this would the first dis-mounted action for the 2nd Mounted Division.

The two hills of Scimitar Hill and W Hill were preventing a decisive breakout from Suvla, to rectify this 29th Division were to attack Scimitar Hill and 11th Division were to attack W Hill on 21st August.

The attack was to start at 3.00pm but was to be preceded by a 30-minute artillery bombardment, and a machine-gun barrage to ‘soften’ the defending Turks. Neither was in a volume or accuracy to help the attack.

The War Diary reports that the attackers met heavy shrapnel fire at almost point-blank range causing heavy casualties, but the first objective was reached and a move immediately made towards the second objective.

The 11th Division then seemed to lose direction, veering to their left and presenting their flank to the defending Turks. The volume of fire from the Turks caused the attack to stall, and by 5.00pm had come to a standstill. By 8.00pm, the majority of those left alive were back at the trenches from where they had started. There were a few scattered parties still on the battlefield, one of about 100 men under the command of Colonel Eustace.

On the next day, 22nd August, the War Diary reports that sniping was heavy all day, both by the Turks and British. Those men still out in front drew machine gun fire whenever they moved. The enemy also shelled the trenches at intervals during the day. At 8.00pm, the 6/Y&L were relieved from the firing line and withdrew back to Suvla Bay and the landing beach area.

40 men from the 6th Yorks & Lancs were killed 21st August, including Tipton man Richard Taylor. Another 15 men were killed on the 22nd August, this included Tipton man, Benjamin Whitehouse, who has no known grave and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald October 9th 1915
Private Ben Whitehouse is the second of a Dudley Port family to give his life for his King and Country. His brother, Thomas Whitehouse, was killed in action in France during the latter part of last year.
Benjamin enlisted in the York and Lancaster Regiment at the outbreak of the war, and his widow has recently received official intimation of his death while serving in the Dardanelles, on August 22nd. Private Whitehouse leaves three children.