Harry James Bennett

Thank you to Ian Bennett and the webmaster at http://www.airwar1.org.uk/


Apr 15, 1891

Born in Cambridge, England to Henry James and Mary Ann Alberta (nee Saggers) Bennett


Nov 6, 1914

Attested into the 21st Battalion in Kingston, Ontario 

Ø      Number 59056 (temporary number 394)

Ø      Next of kin given as Sarah Kinnear, sister, 15 Victoria St., Cambridge, England

Ø      Previous occupation given as Automobile Mechanic

Ø      No previous military experience given

Ø      Religion given as Church of England

Ø      Assigned to “D” Company

o       This was later reorganized into “B” Company 

The battalion trained in the Kingston area through the winter with headquarters in the Kingston Armouries


Jan 16, 1915

Granted extra pay as a Motor Car Driver


Feb 28, 1915

Extra pay as a driver ceased


May 6, 1915

Embarked the RMS Metagama in Montreal, Quebec


May 15, 1915

Disembarked in Devonport, England and the battalion proceeded to the West Sandling Camp, near Hythe, Kent to continue training


Sep 1, 1915

Transferred to the CASC (Canadian Army Service Corps) 2nd Division Supply Column and SOS (Struck Off Strength) the 21st Battalion 

Granted 1st Class Working Pay


Sep 9, 1915

Embarked the SS Santa Isobel in Avonmouth


Sep 11, 1915

Disembarked in Havre, France


Dec 2, 1916

Attached to the Royal Flying Corps for duty with No. 10 Squadron as an observer


Jan 13, 1917

Transferred to England pending discharge in order to be Commissioned


Jan 14, 1917

Posted to the CTD (Canadian Training Depot) in Shorncliffe pending discharge


Jan 25, 1917

Discharged from the CEF in England


Ø      Rank on discharge Private

Ø      Reason for discharge appointed to a Commission in the Imperial Army


Although the discharge documents were signed on this date, they are noted as being effective January 13, 1917






Harry Bennett was subsequently Commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps and sent to the Wireless and Observers School in Brooklands.



On graduating as an Observer, he was posted to No. 2 Squadron operating from an airfield near Bethune, France as an Observer in Armstrong Whitworth FK8 aircraft.




Sep 20, 1917

Transferred to the No. 12 Training Squadron at Thetford, England to begin training as a pilot, first flying the Maurice Farman Shorthorn MF 11 aircraft.




Sep 29, 1917

He flew his first solo flight after 4 hours of instruction.


Oct 18, 1917

Transferred to No. 99 Training Squadron at Lakedown to continue his training and learning how to fly the BE2e and Armstrong Whitworth FK8 aircraft




Nov 26, 1917

He was slightly injured during a crash landing and did not fly for 2 weeks


Jan 7, 1918

He crash landed an Armstrong Whitworth FK8 aircraft, again slightly injuring himself and he did not fly for 2 weeks


Feb 8, 1918

After accumulating 38 hours as a pilot, he was granted leave to Canada


May 18, 1918

After returning to England from leave, he was posted to No. 109 Squadron at Lakedown flying DH4 aircraft




Jun 6, 1918

Lt Bennett crashed again, this time on take off when his engine quit.  He did not fly for another week this time


Jun 17, 1918

Took his first training flight in a DH9 aircraft




Jul 4, 1918

Proceeded to the School of Aerial Fighting at Turnberry for a 1 week course in dog fighting and strafing


Jul 15, 1918

Proceeded to the School of Navigation and Bomb-dropping near Stonehenge


Sep 2, 1918

109 Squadron was disbanded and he was transferred to No. 49 Squadron at Beauvois, France flying DH9s


Sep 6, 1918

He conducted his first live bombing raid on the St. Quentin train station, with his squadron dropping 22 112 pound bombs.


Sep 13, 1918

He conducted his 2nd bombing run on Somain, France where the squadron dropped 112 pound bombs on the rail junction


Sep 16, 1918

On his 3rd bombing run, the squadron attacked the rail junction at Orchies, France, south-east of Lille.  His logbook notes that one of their escort aircraft from No. 62 Squadron was shot down by the Germans


Sep 24, 1918

While flying a DH 9 bomber aircraft near Lille, France, with the 49th Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, his aircraft was shot down and crashed in flames.  Lieut Bennett died of his wounds and was buried by the Germans in the Dechy Communal Cemetery, German Extension, German grave number 315.  It was initially thought that he had been taken prisoner, but he was later confirmed to have died on this date.  His Observer, 2nd Lt. R.H. Armstrong survived the wreckage and was taken prisoner. 

After the war ended, his remains were exhumed and reburied in the Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, France

Following the war the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, Plaque (Dead Man’s Penny), Scroll and Memorial Cross were sent to the family by the British Air Ministry 

I would like to thank the webmaster at http://www.airwar1.org.uk/  and Mr. Ian Bennett for contributions and permission to reproduce material.


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