Name of Researcher / Enw’r ymchwylydd: Peter Redfern Metcalfe
Name of Memorial / Enw’r gofeb: Flint Town
Name / Enw: Bennett, Charles
Regiment/Catrawd: Labour Corps
Service Rank and Number / Rheng gwasanaeth a rhif: Private 266917
Military Cemetery/Memorial / Fynwent milwrol: St Lawrence’s Catholic Cemetery, Limerick
Ref No Grave or Memorial / Rhif cyfeirnod bedd: Grave 31999
Country of Cemetery or Memorial / Gwlad y fynwent neu gofeb: Ireland
Medals Awarded / Medalau a ddyfarnwyd: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal
Date of Death: 13th July 1918
Date and Circumstances of Death / Dyddiad ac amgylchiadau marwolaeth:
Died of influeza on 13th July 1918 in Ireland
Charles (Charlie) Bennett was born 19th May, 1888 in Flint and baptised 17th June, 1888 at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Flint. He was the fourth of ten children to Captain William Bennett and Margaret (MacIntosh).
The family resided at 35, Church Street, Flint and before the war Charlie was employed at Messrs Summers’ Ironworks, Shotton. He was unmarried.
He enlisted in Flint on September, 1914 with the 9th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, No 13171. Whilst serving in France in November, 1915 he was suffering from shock owing to wounds and afterwards transferred to the Labour Corps. In January, 1916 he was invalided from France and sent to one of the Institutions in the St Helens district.
Private Bennett died of influenza at a military hospital in Limerick, Ireland on 13th July, 1918 and buried at St Lawrence’s Catholic Cemetery, Limerick, Ireland (Grave 31999).
He had recently returned to a military centre after spending a few days leave at home amongst his relatives and friends. He was seized with influenza, and eventually information was sent per telegraph to his home that he was seriously ill. Capt Bennett, who was engaged in important duties, was not at home, but Mrs Bennett journeyed, with one of her daughters, to the hospital. Private Bennett’s condition gradually became worse, and the end came on the evening in question to the grief of the relatives and friends.
The funeral was on Monday 15th July, when the obsequies were of a most sympathetic and solemn nature. Thousands of soldiers participated in the last sad rites, and the military procession to the cemetery at Limerick was headed by the customary firing party. The funeral service was conducted in the Roman Catholic ritual by the Rev Father Thornhill, and the remains were conveyed to their last resting place in the portion of the graveyard assigned to the Catholics. After the interment, the soldiers constituting the firing party discharged the usual number of volleys over the grave, and the “Last Post” was sounded. By request, the military band was not present. Mrs Bennett, mother of the deceased, was present at the funeral; and the Flint soldiers extended their sympathy to Mrs Bennett, and the members of the family, in their sad bereavement.
Private Bennett is remembered on two war memorials – Flint Town and St Mary’s Catholic Church, Flint and also his parent’s headstone at Northop Road Cemetery, Flint (Grave 7, Line 41, South Side). He is also commemorated on the North Wales Heroes’ Memorial Arch, Bangor.
He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
Captain Bennett died 25th September, 1924, aged 64, after an illness lasting several months and was buried in the Northop Road Cemetery, Flint. He was born at Golftyn, Northop and was a Master Mariner. After his school days he decided to go to sea, and eventually attained the rank of Captain. His schooner the “Emma & Ester” regularly sailed from Chester stopping off at ports such as Swansea, Cardiff, Plymouth, Newry, Duddon, Belfast, Kibrush and others. During the war he performed some very useful work for the Government, and in 1920 retired from active service. The last post he held was in Belgium. Captain Bennett was a most sociable, but unassuming man, and gained the regard of a wide circle of friends. He was a member of an old and highly respected family with Bennett’s Row in Oakenholt being built by his brother Robert.
His wife Margaret, who was born in Dublin, Ireland, died 20th May 1920, and buried with her husband.
In 1919 it was decided that if a man died whilst serving with the Labour Corps and had previously served in another unit (in this instance the Royal Welsh Fusiliers) his headstone would show the unit he was in prior to his transfer to the Labour Corps. This came about because men who had prior service, especially in the infantry, resented the idea that the burial records and headstones would record them as “labourers.” So generally the headstone will not mention the Labour Corps, though the odd exception does occur.