Lance Corporal Edward [Neddie] BENNETT

Sherwood Foresters
(Notts and Derby Regiment)
17th Battalion
Service Number:
Date of Death:
22 May 1916 - Killed in Action [CWGC]
[Probably: 21st May 1916 - see below]
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Ref. Number:
III. F. 26.

Personal History:
Edward was born in the June quarter 1889, the son of Edward (Limestone Quarryman) and Ellen (née Staughton) Bennett, of 26 Rock Bank Cottages, Harpur Hill, Buxton. He had two older brothers, Robert and William, an older sister, Annie, and six younger siblings, David, Emma, Walter, Herbert, Ethel and Frank. (1901 Census RG 13/3271).
In 1911 (Census RG 14/21239) the family was at the same address and Edwards had gained two more siblings, Edith and James. Edward was known as "Neddie" and said to be: " .. of a cheery disposition." Prior to his enlistment he was employed by "Buxton Lime Firms Company" as a "Waggoner Limestone Works".

Military History:
According to the SDGW database, Edward enlisted at Buxton but unfortunately, his Service papers have been destroyed during a Second World War bombing raid. His Medal Index Card also gives no indication he entered the War, but the local 'Buxton Advertiser' indicates that he enlisted in October 1915 and served with the 15th Platoon, 'D' Company. He was only in the army for 8 months.

The Battalion history says that the 17th (Service) Battalion (Welbeck Rangers) was formed at Nottingham on 1st June 1915 by the Mayor and a Recruiting Committee. In October 1915 it moved to Aldershot and attached to 117th Brigade in 39th Division. The Battalion moved again to Witley in November 1915, before landing in France at le Havre on the 6th March 1916.

In reporting his death 'The Advertiser' gave a date of Sunday, 21st May 1916. He was the first man from Harpur Hill to be killed in the First World War. The Battalion War Diary shows that from the 2nd May it was in Festubert engaged in trench maintenance and general routine duties, before moving into billets in the Divisional Reserve. After more training between the 10th and 17th May, the Battalion moved into new billets at Gorre.

On the 20th May Edward's 17th Battalion moved into the trenches in front of the La Bassée Canal, at Givenchy, a move completed at 11.10 p.m. At midnight the Germans exploded a mine in front of 'D' Company, accompanied by a heavy bombardment of trench Mortars and rifle grenades. The Diary tells us that there were no casualties from the mine, but three men died and six were wounded from the ensuing enemy fire.

CWGC Records state that Edward was killed on the 22nd May whilst rescuing a wounded comrade and is buried in the Cemetery nearby. "The Buxton Advertiser" of the 10th June 1916 reported that Edward's mother had received official notification of his death: "… killed in action while rescuing a wounded comrade from a mine explosion." while serving in the trenches at Gorre, France. [If this was the same mine as reported in the War Diary his death of date would have been the 21st, not the 22nd - verified by his Platoon Officer, see below, who stated he died on "Sunday last" - the 21st May.]

The notification received read as follows:

"In the field
May 26th 1916
Dear Mr Bennett
It is with very many regrets that I have to report the death of your son on Sunday last. He was a member of my platoon, and on my recommendation, through his own worth, was promoted Lc-Cpl. with every prospect of further recognition.
He was one of my most useful men and his place will not be easily filled.
May I offer you my sympathy in your sad bereavement, and tell you that through a very trying ordeal Lc-Cpl. Bennett was bravely carrying his orders with promptness, courage and quietness - every inch a soldier.
Yours sincerely
2/Lt William R. Bennett: 15 Platoon, 17th Sherwood Foresters."

Edward's family published a moving tribute to their son in "The Buxton Advertiser" as follows:

"Nameless his grave on the battle field glory.
Only a cross over a moundful of earth
Dead in the pride of his youth and his glory.
Far from his home and the land of his birth."

· Edward's older brother, Private William BENNETT, 1st Battalion, Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment),
was killed in action on the 4th March 1917

· Younger brother, Private Walter BENNETT, served with the 2/4th Royal Scots, serving in Northern Ireland.

· The Buxton Advertiser, 10 June 1916
· The Buxton Advertiser, 7 April 1917

Link to CWGC Record
L/Cpl Bennett's Grave
L/Cpl Edward Bennett
Edward and Walter Bennett
Edward, photographed with his brother Walter, in the local paper
Cpl Edward Bennett