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Sergeant Walter Henry Bennett M.M.

British Army Royal Field Artillery 102nd Brigade

from:Cowdale, Nr. Buxton.

(d.31st Oct 1918)

Walter was born in the June quarter, 1888, in Sparrow Pitt, Peak Forest, Buxton, the second son of Joseph (Quarry labourer) and Annie (née Vernon) Bennett. His older brother was Joseph F. and he had two younger brothers, Tom Albert and Leonard, and three younger sisters, Martha, Annie and Lily. (1891 Census RG 12/2780 and 1901 Census RG 13/4060) In 1901 Joseph (Snr.) was a surface coal labourer at the Normanton, Yorkshire, colliery and his two elder sons were both working underground. The family were lodging at 117 Wakefield Road, Normanton. (1901 Census RG 13/4280), The rest of the family (wife and four youngest children) were living at 7 Albert Street, Baildon, Yorkshire. The CWGC records show Walter’s family living in Fernilee, nr. Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire after the War. The 1911 Census (RG 14.24333) shows Walter living at Hopkins Farm Stalybridge, working as a Farm Labourer. In the March quarter 1905 he had married Annie May Wood, at Barrow-in-Furness, Cumberland. By 1911 they had two daughters, Annie May and Grace Margaret, both born in Cowdale, Nr. Buxton.

Walter enlisted in Buxton and his Medal Index Card shows that he entered France with the Royal Field Artillery as Driver 44674 on 24th August 1915. The 102nd Brigade, R.F.A. were attached to 23rd Division between the 6th June 1916 and the 22nd August 1916 having previously served with 34th Divison. During the Battle of Messines, on the 7th June 1917 they were in the area near Hill 60 and The Caterpillar. They saw action at the Battle of the Somme in 1916, The Battle of Messines and the First the Second Battle of Passchendaele in 1917, before moving to Italy in October 1917 where they fought in the Battle of Asiago and the Battle of Vittorio Veneto.

Walter was 'Acting/Sgt' in October 1918 when he was Gazetted as one of whom "His Majesty The King has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of the Military Medal for bravery in the Field" (London Gazette 21st October 1918). He was killed in action on the 31st of October 1918.

Graham Conway

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