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William George Bennett (Ch) M 18041, Engine Room Artificer, 4th Class

William was born on 18th August 1889 in Rochester, Kent to father William and mother Rose, their only child. On the 1891 census William George was aged one (just a few months from his second birthday) and recorded living at 4 kettle Court, Rochester along with his parents, William Snr working as a general labourer. Within ten years the trio had moved to 6 Delce Road, only a few houses from their first dwelling. William George was then aged eleven.

Within the following ten years William George married Louisa Baker on 5th November 1910 at St Mary’s Church, Chatham, Kent and had their first child at the beginning of 1911. On the 1911 census William had filled in the details required, listing his father working as a labourer still, himself working as an engineering blacksmith and the family address as 34 Foord Street, Rochester.

William's Signature

34 Foord Street, Rochester

William joined the Navy for the duration of hostilities on 28th December 1915, posted to the nearby town of Chatham to begin his training. He left his job as an engine smith and was recorded as being 5’5” tall with brown hair, blue eyes and sallow skin.

HMS PEMBROKE II - 28/12/1915 - 28/04/1916, rated as Engine Room Artificer 4th Class

HMS ALERT - 29/04/1916 - 21/05/1916

HMS DALHOUSIE - 22/05/1916 - 04/08/1916

HMS PEMBROKE II - 05/08/1916 - 25/01/1917

HMS VANGUARD - 26/06/1917 - 09/07/1917

Due to being posted to the Royal Indian Marine ship William missed participating in the Battle of Jutland. He spent just thirteen days aboard HMS VANGUARD before being killed in the explosion. His wife would have received his letter in the following few days, having written it on Sunday 8th July 1917 from the dreadnought.

Snippet of William's letter home

His pension was awarded to his widow Louisa and their four children, Louisa, John, Beatrice and Ethel. She also received his Star, Victory and British war medals.

He is remembered in perpetuity on the Chatham Naval Memorial.

#80 - 73/843


England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915 Free BMD

1891, 1901 & 1911 England Census

England, Select Marriages, 1538–1973

Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services, 1848-1939 National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services; Class: ADM 188; Piece: 1054

British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960 National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Admiralty: Naval Casualties, Indexes, War Grave Rolls and Statistics Book, First World War.; Class: ADM 242; Piece: 007 (1914 - 1919)

CWGC Register

Naval Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1972 Class: ADM 171; Piece: 95

Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919 TNA Series: ADM 242/7; Scan Number: 0310

World War I Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923 Western Front Association; London, England; WWI Pension Record Cards and Ledgers; Reference: 021/0072/Ben-Ben

Photo courtesy of The Orcadian, Google Maps, Ancestry and Brian Budge

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