John Bennett

I found this article in the Chester Chronicle 23rd August 1941 Page 7 Col 5.


The Late Mr. J. BENNETT – News was received this week by his relatives in Connah’s Quay of the death at sea of Mr. John BENNETT, who had recently made his home at Deane Mont, Upperdale, Hawarden.   He was the youngest son of Capt. Thos.BENNETT, for many years proprietor of the New Inn.   He leaves a wife and two children.   He joined the merchant navy at the beginning of the war.

This set me looking for John in the Commonwealth War Graves Website but he is not, to my knowledge, recorded there nor on the Tower Hill Memorial under the name of the ship S.S. “LLANGOLLEN” on which he died, he is also not on the Connah’s Quay & Shotton,WW2 War Memorial, the town of his birth, nor on the Hawarden WW2 War Memorial where his was last residing.   He seems to have been missed completely.

So I started looking for information on the S.S. Llangollen.    The article below gives an insight into John’s life and his fate.

WW2 People’s War. – An Archive of World War Two memories – written by the public, gathered by the BBC.

SS Llangollen by Angie Irvine – People in story:  Tom Pimm – Location of story:  On board the S.S. LLangollen

Background to story:  Civilian – Article ID:  A3317212 – Contributed on:  23 November 2004

British merchant seamen of World War II – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John was the son of Captain Thomas and Catherine Bennett (nee McKegney), who had been the Proprietor of the New Inn, they had married in St. Mark’s Church on the 15th January 1880.

Thomas Brown Bennett, of full age, (Over 21 years) was a Master Mariner of Connah’s Quay and his father was Benjamin Bennett, Inn Keeper.    Catherine McKegney, 19, Spinster of Connah’s Quay had to get married by Licence because  of her age and her father, Fergus McKegney was also an Inn Keeper.

John had been born on the 13th February 1903 according to the 1939 National Register, but sadly it looks as though Catherine died in the same Quarter of 1903 (March) as John was born and was her last child, so I do wonder if she died in childbirth, age 42 years, (Holywell  Vol  11b, Page             169), but this is speculation, the death certificate would have to be purchased to confirm or deny.

However by the 1911 census the family were living at the New Inn and Thomas B. Bennett, 53, a Licensed Victualler is described as a widower, he also tells us that 12 children had been born, all still living – (crossed out by the Enumerator as he was a widower).   The household is made up of his daughters Sarah Arnold Bennett, 21 and Catherine, 20, both single and both Assisting in the Business.   Fergus Bennett, 18, single and a Clerk in Iron Office, Grace, 16 Assisting at Home.   Children at School were Gilbert, 15, Mary 13, Phyllis, 10 and John 8.   There was a Servant, Daisy Ratcliffe, 19 and born in Staffordshire.

I do not know about John’s childhood or teenage years, but I believe that he married in St. Deniol’s Church, Hawarden on the 28th June 11924.   John, 21, a Bachelor and Shipmate was living at Holly House, Mancot and Thomas Bennett, Publican was his father.   Eleanor Wright, 21, a spinster was living at the same address and her father was William Wright a Pattern Maker.    Witnesses were Herbert & Winnie Wright.

They appear on the 1939 National Register which was taken on the 29th September 1939, the war was declared on the 3rd September.  They were living at Dene Mont Ventnor , Hawarden and John was  a Wharf Labourer (Heavy Work), Eleanor’s date of birth was the 22nd November 1902 and is described on this Register, as most married women not in a job, doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.”          There was also a Thomas G Bennett, born 20th May 1934 in School, and a Closed Record, these I suspect were their children.

According to the newspaper John Bennett joined the merchant navy at the beginning of the war. The Casualty Card gives us the name of the Ship, when he died and the cause of death -Cardiac degeneration  due to Cachodocia*(sic)of Malignant Malaria.

* I cannot find the meaning of “Cachodocia,” in the “Dictonary of Medical Terms.”  However in the Penquin English Dictionary the word – Cachexia means – “A general physical wasting and malnutrition, associated with chronic disease.”

Cachexia is a condition that causes extreme weight loss as well as muscle wasting. The name comes from two Greek words: kakos, meaning “bad,” and hexis, meaning “condition.”  The condition is a symptom or side effect of chronic conditions, such as cancer, type 1 diabetes, HIV, and multiple sclerosis. Older individuals with “failure to thrive” syndrome may also develop cachexia. According to one study, an estimated 5 million Americans have the condition.   There are other conditions that cause a person to lose weight, but cachexia is different in that a person loses weight even if they are still eating. Usually a person who does not eat enough will lose fat, but a person with cachexia will lose both fat and muscle mass.

The fact was that he died of Malaria and as such he died as a result of his War Service and as such should be added to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database, as he would not have caught that if he had stayed in the UK and not volunteered to “Go to War,“ so to speak.

The S.S. Llangollen is also like looking for the Scarlet Pimpernel as I cannot find much about the ship and it’s voyages.

John Bennett needs to be remembered, so I have written to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to see if they can find him on their database and if they know nothing of him, I can send them the Casualty Card and also the newspaper cutting as proof of death, which is what they would require.   If anyone can help in this matter, it would be very much appreciated.








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