2nd Lt. Robert Granville BENNETT
10th Bn., East Yorkshire Regiment (10/727)
9th Bn., Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Born: 9 August 1893, Swinefleet, Yorkshire
Died: 4 October 1917, Beselare, Flanders (Age 24)
The very first person named on the memorial, G R Bennett, has long been a mystery to those researching the memorial names and puzzled us for several months. However, a breakthrough came in March 2015, when a list was found, compiled in early January 1915 by Mrs Marshall of Patterdale Hall, that named him as Private Grenville Bennett, who had enlisted in the East Yorkshire Regiment. More details of the research undertaken following this discovery can be seen here.
Although the person described here is the most probable we have found, we have yet to find evidence that he was actually in Patterdale before the war and therefore still cannot be 100% certain.
Robert Granville Bennett was the third son of Herbert Thomas Bennett, a Farmer, and his wife Mary (nee Taylor). The family were moderately wealthy, as Herbert was the son of John Bennett who established and was Chairman of the Bennett Steamship Company of Goole, which by 1899 had six ships operating between, Goole, London and Boulogne. Herbert and his son were both keen golfers and members of the nearby Rawcliffe Park Golf Club which was formed in 1900. There are many newspaper reports showing the results of matches they played, including one in 1910 reporting that Granville Bennett (the name he was going by) had, at the age of 16, won a competition called 'The Ward Cup'. However, his name is absent from results published after February 1912, which could indicate that he had left the area. Some of the obituaries say that he was pursuing a profession in farming. William Hibbert Marshall of Patterdale Hall, who owned very large estates in Cumberland, Westmorland and Yorkshire was born at Enholme Hall near Patrington, east of Hull, and other members of the Marshall family still lived in the area. The Bennetts and Marshalls may well have had similar social circles (such as golf, the Chamber of Commerce, etc), so it is possible that he was invited to spend time as a guest at Patterdale Hall to study farming on the Marshall's estates. This has yet to be proved but it is a fact that the only Bennett we can find with a forename of Granville, who enlisted in the East Yorkshire Regiment before Jan 1915 and who died during WW1 is Robert Granville Bennett.
Granville enlisted on the 1st September 1914 as a Private into the 10th Battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment (a Pals Battalion known initially as the Hull Commercials)1. The photo shows the Hull Commercials being trained in November 1914, before they moved to Hornsea on the East Coast and were issued with proper khaki uniforms to replace their armbands (making them into real soldiers) rather than the disliked blue 'Post Office' style uniforms that many of Kitchener's New Armies had to wear at first. After several months training the 10th Battalion, as part of the 92nd Brigade, moved to Ripon in the Spring of 1915 for intensive Brigade training, such as tactical schemes and night operations. On the 28th October 1915, highly trained and now part of the 31st Division, the Battalion travelled by rail to Salisbury Plain for Divisional level training.
On the 14th December, the 92nd Brigade proceeded to Devonport by rail and embarked aboard the S.S. 'Minnewaska' bound for Egypt. The Brigade disembarked at Port Said on the 22nd December (just in time to qualify for the 1915 Star) where patrol and guard duties along the banks of the Suez Canal, and much digging in the sand, occupied the troops of the 31st Division for several weeks. When orders were received for the 31st Division to move to France, the 10th Battalion left Port Said on the 29th February 1916 on board H.M.T. Tunisian and arrived in Marseilles on the 7th March, from where they headed north to the Somme, which was a comparatively quiet part of the front line at that time. However, they were there for a reason - during the winter of 1915-16, the Somme Battles of 1916 had been planned and agreed upon by all of the Allies. Granville's Battalion took part in the opening Battle of the Somme, the Battle of Albert (1st - 13th July 1916) and, during the next ten months, fought in other notable actions, such as the Battle of the Ancre (13th - 18th November 1916) and the Third Battle of the Scarpe (3rd - 5th May 1917). Granville had been progressively promoted and by early 1917 he had achieved the rank of Sergeant. His leadership skills and other abilities must have been recognised, as, on the 29th May 1917, he was discharged from the East Yorkshire Regiment and commissioned the following day as a Second- Lieutenant with the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI).
Presumably after some Officer training, most likely in England with some home leave (which will be when the above photo of him in a Officer's uniform was taken), 2nd Lieutenant Bennett reported to the 9th Bn. KOYLI on the 21st July 1917. They were holding positions close to the Hindenberg Line at Longpre, north-west of Amiens. On the 24th July, the Battalion was relieved and moved away from the front to Moyenneville for a week of recuperation and training, before moving 60 miles north-east to Croisilles, just south of Arras. After spending a month there, on the front line, they enjoyed another break of over two weeks at a camp in Simencourt, just west of Arras, where they received more training (and the occasional football match). During the latter half of September the Battalion moved gradually northwards to take up a position on the front line near Polygon Wood, east of Ypres in preparation for their part in the Battle of Broodseinde, a major offensive by the British Second and Fifth armies against the German Fourth Army.
The following is an extract from 9th Battalion's War Diary for 4th Oct 1917
Just before 6 o'clock all was quiet, at zero the barrage opened with a fearsome noise and we leapt from our own shell holes and went forward in snake formation. It was the darkness that precedes the dawn and one could recognise nobody. We are thankful to say that we got away from our own assembly positions before the full force of the German barrage descended but were immediately subjected to a withering machine gun fire, men were falling right and left but who cared? our one care was to get forward...... The swamp proved a veritable death trap, we were up to our knees in slush and at the same time subjected to enfilade machine gun fire from the right.
It was during this attack that 2nd Lieutenant Bennett died. According to the newspaper reports, he received a bullet wound that killed him instantly.
Granville had served for just over three years and his medal card2 shows that he was posthumously awarded the Victory Medal, the British War Medal and the 1915 Star.
He is remembered and commemorated on:
The Patterdale War Memorial
Cenotaph in Goole, Yorkshire
Tyne Cot Memorial3
Commonwealth War Graves Commission Memorial Certificate
What became of Granville's family?
His father Herbert Thomas Bennett was born in Adlingfleet, Yorkshire around 1864. He married Mary Taylor around August 1885 (Mary was born in Liverpool around 1864). They had six children. At the time of the 1911 Census, Herbert was described as a Potato Merchant and a Farmer, and was a member of the Goole Chamber of Commerce. He went on to become a Director of the Goole Steamship Company and Chairman of the Bennett Steamship Co. in Goole, which had been founded by his father John Bennett. Herbert died on the 1st September 1941 at his home 'Hafodty', Loughborough Road, Ruddington in Nottinghamshire aged 77, and Mary around August 1945 aged 81.
His oldest brother Stanley Bennett was born in Swinefleet, Yorkshire on the 1 July 1886 and died there around August 1957 aged 71. He married Mary Prentice in Goole around February 1909 and had their first child Herbert Stanley on the 29th of September 1910.
Older brother Herbert Reginald Bennett (known as Reg) was born in Swinefleet, Yorkshire around May 1888. He married the wonderfully named Olive Tree in Goole around May 1911. Sadly, Olive died at the early age of 42 in Feb 1931 and Herbert married again, to Ruth B Haynes about Aug 1932. Herbert died in Goole about Nov 1952.
Younger sister Marion Bennett was born in Swinefleet, Yorkshire on the 20th July 1895. She married Clwyd Abbey. Marion died on the 18 Mar 1972.
The younger twins, brothers Herbert Thomas Bennett and John Taylor Bennett, were born in Goole, Yorkshire around 1905. John was also a keen golfer - he married Hilda Goodworth on the 3rd September 1931 at Goole Wesleyan Church.
1. The Hull Pals - As well as the Hull Commercials, three other Battalions were formed very soon afterwards; Hull Tradesmen's, Hull Sportsmen's and T'Others. These were subsequently renamed the 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th Battalions and together formed the 92nd Infantry Brigade, which with the 93rd and 94th Brigades formed the 31st Division.
2. Medal Card for 2nd Lt. Robert Granville Bennett, 10th Bn. East Yorkshire Regiment and 9th Bn. Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.
The Victory Medal
To qualify for the Victory medal one had to be mobilised in any service and have entered a theatre of war between 5 August 1914 and 11 November 1918).
The British War Medal
To qualify for the British War Medal a member of the fighting forces had to leave his native shore in any part of the British Empire while on service. It did not matter whether he/she entered a theatre of war or not.
The 1914-15 Star
The 1914–15 Star was approved in 1918, for issue to officers and men of British and Imperial forces who served in any theatre of the War between 5 August 1914 and 31 December 1915 (other than those who had already qualified for the 1914 Star).
3. The Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium
The Tyne Cot Memorial is one of four memorials to the missing in Belgian Flanders which cover the area known as the Ypres Salient. Broadly speaking, the Salient stretched from Langemarck in the north to the northern edge in Ploegsteert Wood in the south, but it varied in area and shape throughout the war.
The memorial now bears the names of almost 35,000 officers and men whose graves are not known. It was designed by Sir Herbert Baker with sculpture by Joseph Armitage and F.V. Blundstone, and unveiled by Sir Gilbert Dyett on 20 June 1927.
The memorial forms the north-eastern boundary of Tyne Cot Cemetery, which was established around a captured German blockhouse or pill-box used as an advanced dressing station. The original battlefield cemetery of 343 graves was greatly enlarged after the Armistice when remains were brought in from the battlefields of Passchendaele and Langemarck, and from a few small burial grounds. It is now the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world in terms of burials. At the suggestion of King George V, who visited the cemetery in 1922, the Cross of Sacrifice was placed on the original large pill-box. There are three other pill-boxes in the cemetery.
There are now 11,956 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in Tyne Cot Cemetery, 8,369 of these are unidentified. More Details
The East Yorkshire Regiment in the Great War - Everard Wyrall
War Diary of the 9th Battalion, Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
We are also very grateful to Steven, Granville’s Great Great Nephew, who kindly sent us the photos of Granville as an Officer and of other family members.
Page Editor: Norman Jackson
Page Last Reviewed: 23 Feb 2021