William Bennett was born circa 1923, the son of Cecil & Miriam J. Bennett who, I believe, married at St. Mary & St Helen’s Church in Neston in 1922 (Cheshire West CE37/3/201).
On the 1939 Register, Cecil and Miriam were living at 21 Richmond Road , Connah’s Quay U.D., Flintshire, Wales, but his brother, Cecil, who was born in 1923 is shown, but not William and with the 100 year rule, it makes me wonder if William was younger than is shown on official documents:-
Cecil Bennett born 08 Mar 1899 Male Iron & Steel Gasman Married
Miriam J Bennett born 29 Oct 1902 Female Land Worker Married
I entry Redacted — Is this William????
Cecil Bennett born 16 Oct 1923 Male Labourer General Single
Taken from “Find my Past” –
Why are some records in the 1939 Register officially closed?
Answer: – Individuals’ records remain closed for 100 years from their date of birth (100 year rule). Records remain closed for people born less than 100 years ago until proof of death is verified.
So I do not have a definitive date for William’s birthday.
In 1901 William’s father, Cecil’s, family, was living at 32, Cestrian Street, Connah’s Quay, Cecil’s mother Margaret Bennett, age 38 was a widow and had been born in Liverpool, Lancashire. Her children were Thomas J., 12, Alice M., William, 7 and 2 sets of twins, – Elizabeth and Joseph age 4 and Cecil and Harold, age 2.
According to the 1891 census Margaret’s husband and the father of her children was William Bennett, age 35, a General Labourer who had been born in Connah’s Quay.
Fast forward to the 1911 census and it seems that Margaret had married Fred Brooks, in a Civil Marriage (or Registrar Attended) in Chester in 1904. (Cheshire West ROC/47/134).
They were living in Margaret house at 32, Cestrian Street and a child had been born to them, Margaret Ann, who on this census was age 6, born like the other children in Connah’s Quay. Head of the household, Fred Brooks, 32, tells us that he was an Ironworker in the Sheet Mills (Iron Works) been married 8 years and been born in Tipton, Staffs. Margaret, 46 tells us that she had borne 8 children, but sadly one had died. Margaret’s other children – all Bennett children- were William, 17, and an Ironworker in the Sheet Mills (Iron Works), Elizabeth, 14, Harold, 12 and Cecil, 12. There was a Visitor, Joseph Whitehouse , Single age 27 and a Shoe Maker.
So it seems that William was named after his Grandfather William Bennett, who had died so young.
I do not know when young William enlisted as he was in the RAF Volunteer Reserve, but he was to be part of Bomber Command, if he was in 101 Squadron:-
Extract taken from :- https://www.raf.mod.uk/organisation/101squadron.cfm
At the outbreak of World War II, the squadron was equipped with Blenheim IVs and was involved in attacks against enemy barge concentrations in the Channel Ports. In mid-1941, No. 101 Sqn became part of Bomber Command’s medium-bomber force with Wellingtons and flew many night sorties against Germany and Italy. These aircraft were replaced barely 18 months later by the Lancaster and became specialised in airborne radar jamming to disrupt German night-fighters interceptions.
His name is on Runnymede Memorial so his body was probably not found and when more records are released, perhaps we will know more about young William’s death, as he was only 20 years old when he died, but had risen to the rank of Sergeant.
Until then, his family could get to know about his service by applying to the R.A.F. Any help to tell William’s story would be gratefully received.