Regiment or Ship: 1/1st Sussex Yeomanry (‘D’ Squadron)
Service Number(s): Not found
Occupation: Assisting in his father’s business of Plumbing and Decorating. (1911 Census)
Date of Birth: 1892
Place of Birth: Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
Date of Death: 05.12.1952
Place of Death: Bexhill, Sussex Place of Burial / Memorials:
Unknown – there is no record of him in Bexhill Cemetery.
Address: 8 Western Road, Bexhill (1911 Census)
Photos and newspaper articles
Parents: Charles and Ada Bennett – Charles Bennett married Ada Alice Jackson in the district of Kensington, in 1889. He was born in Clapham, Surrey in 1862 and Ada, in 1867, in Kensington, London. At the time of the 1911 Census, Charles was a plumber and decorator while Ada was “assisting in the business”.
Charles Bennett, born 1863, in Clapham, Surrey
Ada Alice Bennett, born 1868, in South Kensington, London
Gwendoline Bennett, born 1894, in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
Hilda Bennett, born 1896, in Upton Park, London E.
Stanley Frederick Jackson Bennett, born 1899, in Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex. W0199 BENNETT Stanley Frederick Jackson.
Sydney Charles Jackson Bennett married Ellen Shoesmith in 1920, in Bexhill. Between 1920 and 1930, there were, roughly, thirty Bennett children born, throughout Britain, whose mother had the maiden name of Jackson but, unfortunately, no reason has been found for any one of these to be considered, above all the others, a child of this marriage.
First World War Experience
None of Sydney’s service records has been found so all we know of his WW1 experience comes via the local newspapers of the time.
We know that Sydney Charles Jackson Bennett enlisted in the Sussex Yeomanry on 6th January 1911, long before WW1 began and, at some stage, was promoted to Lance-Corporal.
To give some background – the Sussex Yeomanry was formed in April 1908; it was intended only to be a home defence force, for service during wartime, with those who joined the force being exempted from service outside the country. On the outbreak of war, on 4th August 1914, however, a great many members volunteered for Imperial Service and so, in August and September 1914, it was decided to split the Yeomanry into two “lines” – the 1/1st Sussex Yeomanry (liable for overseas service) and 2/1st Sussex Yeomanry (home service for those unable or unwilling to serve overseas). Later, 3/1st Sussex Yeomanry was formed to act as a reserve, providing trained replacements for the 1st and 2nd Line regiments.
One newspaper, the Bexhill Observer, on 22nd April 1916, reported that Sydney was home on leave and that he had been wounded at Gallipoli but it gave no dates or ant other information.
The newspaper article read:-
“WOUNDED YEOMAN HOME”
“Lance-Corporal S. Bennett, Sussex Yeomanry, who was wounded in Gallipoli, son of Mr and Mrs Bennett, Weston-Road, is home for Easter. Lance-Corporal Bennett was acting as motor transport rider, when he was injured by a Turkish shell, his machine being blown from under him.”
If Sydney had served in Gallipoli then he must have enlisted in the 1/1st Sussex Yeomanry, which, on 24th September 1915, embarked on the RMS (Royal Mail Ship) “Olympic” (a sister ship to the ill-fated “Titanic”) at Liverpool bound for Gallipoli, where they disembarked on 8th October 1915.
On 30th December 1915, the 1/1st Sussex Yeomanry was evacuated from Gallipoli to Mudros, a small Greek port on the Mediterranean island of Lemnos. So, Sydney must have received his wounds sometime in late 1915 – unfortunately there is nothing to tell us what his wounds were.
Following the movements of the Yeomanry can only indicate where Sydney MAY have been because he must have been hospitalized after the shell incident and, from then on, his path and that of the Yeomanry would have been diverged.
Sydney was discharged, due to sickness, on 20th April 1917 and awarded the Silver War Badge – however, no records, telling us what his sickness was, have been found.
Please note that “Sydney” is used here as opposed to “Sidney” because that is how his name was spelled on the 1911 Census and on most other documents seen.
After the war, Sydney was employed as a ‘Master Decorator and Electrician’, and died in Bexhill on 5th December 1952, aged 60 years.
On 19th June 2013, Sydney’s medals went for auction, by Dix Noonan Webb Ltd, at the Washington Mayfair Hotel, 5 Curzon Street, Mayfair, London, W1J 5HE.
The value for all three medals, was estimated to be between £100 and £140 and they, actually, sold for £130 (it’s not known who the successful bidder was).
The information given, at the auction was; – “Lance-Corporal S. C. Bennett, Sussex Yeomanry
1914-15 Star (1339 L. Cpl., Suss. Yeo.); British War and Victory Medals (1339 Pte., Suss. Yeo.) good very fine (3) £100-140”
Sydney left a will and the following is a transcription of the probate record: –
Bennett Sydney Charles Jackson otherwise Sydney Charles of 30 Holmesdale-road, Bexhill-on-Sea Sussex died 5 December 1952 Administration (with Will) Lewes 27 January to Ellen Bennett widow. Effects £2371 4s 3d. [Note £2371 4s 3d in 1952 would be worth, today, roughly £65,000]