To tell Samuel’s story, we need to go back a little way to explain that his wife, Catherine Bennett, had previously married Edward Parry in a Civil Ceremony in Chester in 1890 (Cheshire West – ROC/26/136). The 1891 census records them living in Union Street, Connah’s Quay. Edward Parry, 34 was a Carrier. His wife, Catherine was 22, and their two children were Arthur B. Parry, 1 and Ann Parry 3 months. They had all been born in Connah’s Quay. They were to go on to have a further two children, (Elizabeth and Rebecca Parry), before Edward died in about 1894.
Catherine Parry, formerly Bennett, the widow remarried. She married Samuel Bennett (Snr) at Ss Eurgain and Peter’s Church in Northop on 22nd June 1897. Her father was also Samuel Bennett, a Fisherman!
The family was recorded in the 1901 census, still living in Union Street Connah’s Quay. Samuel Bennett Senior was not present on census night so was not listed. The household consisted of Catherine 30 and her first four children all named Parry (Arthur P., 11, Annie 10, Elizabeth 8 and Rebecca 7). The two youngest children were named Bennett and they were Samuel J., 3 (Samuel junior) and Frederick 1.
The 1911 census recorded the family living at Holly Bank Villas, Queensferry. Head of the household was Samuel Bennett, 39 a Heater Of Steel Ingots In Bar Mill. Catherine, his wife of 14 years, was 42. Six children had been born to them and they had all survived. These were the Bennett children, ( she didn’t count the Parry children in her calculations as she had given birth to 11 children that I know about.). Those listed were Bertram Parry, 22 an Opener Of Sheets In Shed Rolling Mills. Rebecca Parry 17, Samuel John Bennett 13, ( known as John) was a scholar. Fred Bennett was 11, Thomas Bennett 8, Margaret Bennett 6, Elizabeth Bennett 5 and daughter Mary Bennett 3. All except Bertram had been born in Connah’s Quay.
Samuel’s service Records have survived and are accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk. The following papers are included and are described here in the order in which they appear in the records – not chronological.
His Attestation Papers tell us that he enlisted on the 2nd September 1914, in Wrexham, shortly after war was declared and he said that he was in the National Reserve and had previously been in the 5th Northern? Fusiliers. The papers state he had been born in Northop. (Connah’s Quay was part of Northop Parish)
A letter dated 20th October 1917 to Catherine, gave her address as Heswell House, Glyne Street, Queensferry, Chester. This was regarding Samuel’s personal Possessions and medals from the War Office to Infantry Records in Shrewsbury.
There is a letter from the War Office, London, to same Records Office in Shewsbury, dated 24th April 1917 stating that Mrs. Catherine Bennett had been awarded 32/6d a week for herself and 4 children with effect from 30th April 1917. There is a signed receipt from Catherine regarding Samuel’s Medals dated 24th June 1922.
There is a faded letter to the army from Catherine.
Sir, – In reference to your application for birth cert for children having mislaid two of them. I am sending the other two, which I have. I could get them by applying to James JONES Registrar of births at Flint but I have to pay sixpence each for them the oldest Thomas born 23rd December 1902 second Margaret ?? August 1904 —- next paper badly ripped, but continuation of above….too ….. him.. went away and ..nt know where he put them if you want them you can get them from Flint but it will cost sixpence each. Yours truly, C. Bennett
There is a description of Samuel Bennett on Enlistment
Height – 5 feet ? inches
Weight – 148lbs
Chest measurement – 39, range of expansion 3 inches
Eyes – Grey
Hair – Brown (I think)
Religion – C of E.
Distinctive marks etc. – Scar right of buttock.
This form signed at Wrexham 2nd September 1914
Samuel was to be declared assumed dead on the 17th birthday of his son Frederick* on the 14th July
1916. Catherine was once again a widow.
*Frederick was my best friend, Maureen Bennett’s father, and Maureen and her husband Brian Jenkins have been very helpful with both Samuel’s story and another side of Maureen’s family, her mother’s 2 brothers, Alfred and Robert Hughes, who both were killed along with their stepfather Harry Pearson in the war. Their stories can be seen by clicking the link. Maureen has also told me her Grandfather Samuel, who was a Sgt had taken young men from Wrexham to fight the war and was older than most of the men he took. Just to add, Maureen is going to see her Grandson Kris, Samuel’s Great Grandson, receive his Doctorate at Aberystwyth on the very date her Grandfather Samuel Died 100 years ago. I am sure that Samuel would have been very proud.
Samuel Bennett in the British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 tells us that his first Theatre of War was France and he entered it on the 23rd June 1915
Samuel Bennett in the UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 tells us that he was born in Northop Flintshire, and enlisted in Wrexham.
Samuel Bennett in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 whose Death presumed on or since 14 Jul 1916, gives the sole Legatee was his widow Catherine Bennett who was paid £13. 14s 6d on the 20th October 1917 for herself and children and Samuel’s War Gratuity of £11. 10s 0d.
There is a card for Samuel in the Flintshire Roll of Honour kept at the county Archive Office at Hawarden. It says Samuel Bennett 47 Glynne Street Queensferry and gives regimental details as above. He served 2 years and was killed July 1916. It was signed by S J Bennett.
Samuel was mentioned in the book ” Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 – 1918 Royal Welsh Fusiliers Volume 28″.
Oddfellows Memorial Tablet – Wepre Lodge. – In the Mold, Deeside & Buckley Leader dated 3rd October 1924, a list of the members were honoured:- Connah’s Quay Memorial Tablet. To Wepre Lodge Fallen Oddfellows. – The Saturday preceding 3rd October 1924, the Tablet was unveiled by the Vicar of Shotton, J.J.J. Robinson. – S. Bennett’s name was among those honoured.
Samuel is, I believe, also remembered on the Memorial Screen in St. Ethelwold’s Church, Shotton and Hawarden War Memorial.