Arthur James Avis

G/14397, Private, 7th East Kent Regiment.

Killed In Action on the 17th December 1918 aged 18.

Arthur was the son of Alfred & Alice Avis of Coles Green, Benington.

On the 17th December 1918, a month after the armistice, the Battalion were located in the village of Malicourt. Arthur was a member of a working party involved in salvage work around the village, recovering munitions. One of the members of the working party dropped a 3” German Minenwerfer which exploded and instantly killed seven men and wounded a further twenty-five. Later that day, six of these wounded men died from their injuries.  The funerals of those who died took place at 2.15pm on the 18th December.

Arthur is buried in the Honnechy British Cemetery, France. (1. B. 4.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

Charles Albert Bennett

106997, Gunner, 323rd Siege Battery. Royal Garrison Artillery.

Killed Accidentally on the 5th December 1917.

On the 5th December 1917 the Battery were in position near the village of Maroc and were firing on German artillery positions, with the aid of air observation. Charles Bennett was manning No.3 gun which was described as “practically new”. At 10.10am the gun suffered a “premature”, which is the detonation of an artillery shell whilst still in the breach. The resulting explosion killed Charles Bennett and wounded the remainder of the crew.

Those wounded were;

29701      Corporal  Harry Eaton

163421    Gunner    William W Adam

74931      Gunner    Norman Beswick

123001    Gunner    James W Burns

323068    Gunner    James D Whyte

Charles is buried in the Bully-Grenay Communal Cemetery, British Extension, Pas De Calais, France. (4. G. 1.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

Alec John Bolter

184364, Flying Officer, Pilot, 49 Squadron, Royal Air Force.

Killed In Action on the 8th January 1945 aged 26.

Alec Bolter lived in Benington before the war and was educated at Alleynes School. He played cricket for the school and was a member of the 2nd XI. He also had a passion for chess and was later to become secretary of the schools chess & draughts club. On leaving school he joined Reekes & Goode of Hertford and in less than three years had become a licentiate of the Institute of Auctioneers and Estate agents, having passed his exams with honours.

In 1939 Alec was called up to the Militia and was stationed on a searchlight station in South Wales but this tedious task was not for him and in 1941 he transferred to the RAF. He trained to be a pilot in the USA and after completing a training course that lasted over a year, he proudly won his wings.  Alec was married in April 1942 and found himself posted on to an Instructional staff position, which was not to his liking as he longed for operational duties.

It was late in 1944 when he managed to get himself transferred to Bomber Command and joined 49 Squadron.

Just a few short weeks later, on the 8th January 1945, a force of 645 Lancaster’s took to the air for what was to be the last major raid on Munich, one of the Lancaster bombers was piloted by Alec Bolter. Eleven Aircraft were lost during the raid plus an additional four which crash landed in France. One of the latter was piloted by Alec Bolter, which crashed near the village of  St.Gemar.

Alec is buried at the Old Cemetery in Villeneuve St.Georges, France.

Crew of LANCASTER Mk.III  PB586 EA

Position

Number

Rank

Name

Age

Pilot:

184364

F/O

Alec John  BOLTER     DFC

26

FE:

1880701

SGT

Jack  COURT

NAV:

1623780

SGT

Thomas Ellwood  WALKER

BA:

1621826

SGT

John Thomas  SANDERSON

21

MUAG:

1881458

SGT

Alfred  BUTCHER

36

RAG:

1055862

SGT

Clarence Leslie  ATKINS

 35

George Henry Cannon

TR/135766, Private, 16th Battalion,  Kings Royal Rifle Corps.

Died on the 15th November 1917 aged 19.

Private George Henry Cannon

George was the son of George & Mary Cannon. It is believed that he died whilst in training and did not serve overseas.

He is buried in St.Peters churchyard, Benington.

Frank Cheyne

1878750, Driver, 254 Field Park Company. Royal Engineers.

Drowned on the 8th March 1944 aged 25.

The grave of Driver Frank Cheyne in the Kirkee War Cemetery, India.

Frank was the son of William & Agnes Cheyne and was accidentally drowned in Bombay.

He is buried in the Kirkee War Cemetery, India. (8.K.2.).

Theodore Augustus Collins

7182, Bandsman, 1st Battalion, Cameron Highlanders.

Died of Wounds on the 7th November 1914 aged 21.

The grave of Bandsman Theodore Augustus Collins in the Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, France.

Theodore Collins was born in Benington, Hertfordshire, the son of William and Mary Augusta Collins. He joined the Army at a young age and trained as a Musician. As a professional soldier he was sent to Belgium at the outbreak of the Great War as part of the original British Expeditionary Force.

His Battalion arrived in France on the 14th August 1914, just 10 days after the outbreak of the Great War. As part of the 1st Division, Theodore would have taken part in the Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, including the rearguard action of Etreux, The Battle of the Marne,the Battle of the Aisne, including participation in the actions on the Aisne heights and the action of Chivy, and The First Battle of Ypres.

On the 1st November 1914 the Battalion were moved into a position between Zonnebeke Wood and Veldhoek near Ypres. Over the following week their positions were heavily shelled and the Battalion suffered a large number of casualties. On the 5th November, two shells fell into their positions and 10 men were killed and a further 10 wounded, one of which is believed to have been Theodore Collins. He was taken to a General Hospital in Boulogne where he died from the effects of his injuries.

He is buried in the Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, France. (III. B. 43.)

The Benington war memorial incorrectly records him as A.T. COLLINS.

Medal Entitlement: 1914 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal.

 

Frederick Collins

17725, Private, 6th Bedfordshire Regiment.

Missing In Action on the 15th July 1916 aged 21 .

Frederick was the son of Rose Colllins of Burrs Green, Benington.

Thiepval Memorial, Somme.

He was killed in an attack on the village of Pozieres during the Battle of the Somme. The attack was headed by the 8th East Lancashire Regiment and supported by the both the 6th Bedfordshire's and the 11th Warwickshire Regiment. Initially, the advance went unopposed but as the two forward battalions went over the crest of the Chalk Pitt they were held up by heavy and accurate machine gun fire. The Bedford’s were forced to dig in about 100 yards from Liniere. Later, it was found that their attack had failed and they had suffered some 244 casualties with 3 Officers and 32 O/R's killed and a further 25 O/R's Missing, including

He has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France. (Pier/Face 2C.) 

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal

William Stanley Draper

330769, Private, 1st Cambridgeshire Regiment.

Died Of Wounds on the 4th July 1918

On the 4th July 1918 the Battalion were located in Martinsart in the Somme sector. They had taken over these positions from the 6th Queens Regiment on the 22nd June and were involved in a minor operation to capture machine guns and prisioners. Once they went forward they came under heavy fire from both machine Guns and Trench Mortars. Eventually, after three hours they were forced to return to their positions after 1 Officer and 3 Other Ranks had been wounded. One of these was William Draper who lost his battle for life later that day.

William is buried in the Harponville Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France. (Grave E.13.) 

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

Roland Frederick Dunsby

819666, Bomberdier, 259 Battery, 65th (Norfolk Yeomanary) Anti-Tank Regiment. Royal Artillery.

Killed In Action on the 26th May 1940 aged 39.

Roland was the son of William & Anna Dunsby and the husband of Olive Dunsby. His father was the local Policeman and they lived, not surprisingly, at Police cottage in Benington. Roland served for six years in the Royal Field Artillery and in 1939 he joined the Hertfordshire Constabulary and was stationed at Hertford where he served until re-called for service.

The Regiment, part of the 50th (Northumbrian) Brigade, served in France from January 1940 until the BEF evacuation. Following the German invasion of France & Belgium the unit was sent to Gramount where it remained for two days. On the 19th May they were attached to the 151st Infantry Brigade and sent to defend the bridges at Avelghem - Bossuyt. The following day they were attached to the 74th Field Regiment and were moved to the Bethune Line. On the 24th May they were in a position on the La Base - Bethune canal. After the bridges were blown at Berclau part of the Battery was withdrawn to Camphin. The remainder of the battery remained at the La Basse - Bethune position and the following day was in action with the enemy. During this action Bombardier Pointer was awarded the Military Medal and it is believed this is where Roland Dunsby was killed.

He is buried in the Merville Communal Cemetery Extension, France. (2.C.33)

Henry Victor Fardell

10699, Corporal, 5th Platoon, "B" Company, 7th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment.

Died on the 17th August 1918.

Henry Victor Fardell was born on the 28th August 1894 in the village of Therfield. His connection with the village of Benington has not been established but it is believed that he may have worked in the area.

He arrived in France on the 30th July 1915 and served on the Western Front until he was taken prisoner at St. Quentin on the 21st March 1918, the first day of the German Spring offensive. He died from what is described as "Cardiac Weakness" whilst a Prisoner of War in Germany on the 17th August 1918. This often arose as the result of being malnourished.

He was originally buried in the Morhange Military Cemetery, but on the 24th July 1924 his remains, and those of other servicemen buried in the cemetery, were exhumed and reburied in the Sarralbe Military Cemetery, Moselle, France (D. 23.)

Medal Entitlement: 1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.