Benjamin James Latham

Memorial: Olveston

Regiment: Australian Infantry

Medals: British War Medal, Next of Kin Memorial Plaque 1914 - 1921, Victory Medal

Rank and number: Lance Corporal 6768

Parents: James and Rebecca Latham

Home address: Bilsham, Ingst, Bristol

Date of birth: 1887

Place of birth: Olveston, Bristol

Date of death: 18/12/1917

Buried/Commemorated at: Irish House Cemetery (C. 2.) at Kemmel to the south-west of Ypres, Belgium

Further information:

Benjamin’s father James was an agricultural labourer, who was married to Rebecca, his brother Thomas was older by one year and after Benjamin, there followed George and Margaret. The family lived at Bilsham, Ingst but by the time that young Benjamin was 13 he had left home to be boarded at Yate with the Marktone family. The indications are that shortly after this he left his labouring job to join the Gloucestershire Regiment, where he served for 13 years. On his release he went to Australia where he travelled around doing more labouring work until September 1916 when, in Melbourne, he signed on to join the Australian Infanty. Meanwhile his brother Thomas had signed on to join the British Army from which he returned at the end of the war. Benjamin joined the 5th Battalion, which was part of the Australian 2nd Brigade, which in 1915 had done sterling work in the Gallipoli campaign and which, by March 1916, was on the Western Front in northern Europe

Within six weeks of joining the 5th Battalion, Benjamin was made up to Acting Corporal and on the 25th of October 1916 his company boarded the troopship 'Ulysses’ bound for Plymouth. On arrival at Larkhill Training Camp shortly after Christmas he reverted to the rank of Private. During February 1917 Benjamin was twice charged with being absent without leave and forfeited a total of 32 days without pay. By March 13 training was over and the 5th Battalion embarked for France from Folkestone and encamped at Étaples just outside Le Touquet. The Battalion moved east to be involved in operations that followed up the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line, during which time Benjamin was made up to Lance Corporal. In November 1917 the Battalion moved to join the great Allied offensive known as the third Battle of Ypres, which is also referred to as Passchendaele

On the 18th of December1917, 30 year-old Lance Corporal Benjamin Latham received serious wounds to the chest and was attended by the 2nd Australian Field Ambulance Unit. He died that day and is buried in the Irish House Cemetery (C. 2.) at Kemmel to the south-west of Ypres in Belgium

By kind permission, this information is based on the following source(s):

Forces War Records and CWGC