John Davis Bennett
Memorial: Downend - Christ Church
Regiment: Somerset Light Infantry
Rank and number: Private 200772
Parents: Worthy John and Sophia Bennett (nee Long)
Marital status: Single
Home address: High Street, Staple Hill, Bristol
Pre-war occupation: Electrical Engineer
Date of birth: 1888
Place of birth: High Street, Staple Hill, Bristol
Date of death: 24/10/1918
Buried/Commemorated at: Madras 1914-1918 War Memorial, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
While living in Bathwick, Somerset, John Davis Bennett enlisted in the Somerset Light infantry at the Battalion HQ at Lower Bristol Road, the Battalion was then part of the South-Western Brigade, Wessex Division. He first served as Private 2576 in 1st/4th Battalion Somerset Light Infantry (Prince Albert's) and sailed from Southampton, disembarking at Bombay, India on 29th August 1915. The Somerset's remained there until 23rd February, 1916 when it landed at Basra, Mesopotamia in 37th Indian Brigade, 3rd Indian Division. The 1st/4th Somerset's were in Mesopotamia at the end of the war. Shortly after the Armistice they moved to Baghdad from Tekrit, and then on to Mirjanna. Demobilization began and the reduced cadre strength of the battalion was then moved to Basra, arriving there on the 15th March 1919. The Cadre returned to Plymouth on the 2nd May and proceeded immediately to Bath. Probably Private Bennett did not go with his Battalion to Mesopotamia but remained behind in India on garrison duty and there fell seriously ill. The latter is probably true as he is recorded as dying from a disease and is buried in Chennai. It seems improbable that he would have been returned 2,300 miles to India for rest and recuperation from Mesopotamia as new hospitals had been set up to care for the sick and wounded in the middle east.
The Register of Soldiers' Effects shows that Private Bennett's possessions amounted to £4.14s.10d which were to his legatee Miss Amy Hilda Marchant on 10th September 1920. A War Gratuity of £24.0s.0d also sent to her on the same day.
Also commemorated on the Christ Church Downend and the Staple Hill Methodist Church Memorials.
By kind permission, this information is based on the following source(s):
Forces War Records, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Soldiers Died In The Great War, Find A Grave index, Free BMD, Register of Soldiers' Effects, Medal Rolls Index Card, UK Censuses, David Blackmore – Mangotsfield Residents Association