Harry Fox

87040, Bombardier, 62nd Brigade H.Q. Royal Field Artillery.

Died 14th November 1918 aged 30.

Harry was born in Manton Downs, Devizes, Wiltshire and lived at High Elms, Benington with his wife, Elizabeth (nee Cox), and their two daughters, Florence and Rose where he worked as a Farm Labourer.

He enlisted in the Army at Hertford.

Buried in Brebieres British Cemetery, Pas, de Calais, France. (Grave F3.)

Joseph Frost

13213, Lance Corporal, 10th Essex Regiment.

Died of Wounds on the 1st July 1916 aged 24.

Joseph Frost was the son of Nathaniel & Bertha Frost of 9 Burrs Green, Benington. He was born in the village of Newport, Essex and had enlisted in Saffron Walden.

The Battalion was part of the 53rd Brigade, 18th (Eastern) Division and had moved forward from the village of Carnoy in preparation for an attack South-West of Montauban. At 07.30 a mine was blown at a place called Casino Point and it is recorded by the Regimental historians that the air was filled with debris, injuring some of the men. The Battalion then assaulted Pommiers Ridge along with the 7th Bedfordshire Regiment and the 11th Royal Fusiliers, and managed to reach a position known as White Trench.

It is uncertain at what point Joseph was injured but he died later that day as a result of his wounds.

Joseph is buried in the La Neuville British Cemetery, Corbie. (I.A.34)

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

John Wellington Hall

Lieutenant Commander, Royal Navy, HMS HOOD.

Died At Sea on the 24th May 1941 aged 38.

Lieutenant Commander John Wellington-Hall

John was the son of Harry & Edith Hall and the Husband of Joan Hall. He received his commission on the 30th September 1934 and joined HMS Hood on the 25th August 1939, prior to which he served aboard HMS Wryneck.

The German battleship, Bismarck, and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, sailed from Gotenhafen in the Baltic for the Atlantic via Norway on the 19th of May, 1941. Once out of the Baltic, they headed north. They were spotted during an RAF reconnaissance flight, and the hunt was on. The English knew the target for these two warships were the convoys and the Home Fleet brought a large number of ships into action to cover all the routes into the Atlantic. They were spotted northwest of Iceland by the heavy cruiser Norfolk on 23 May, 1941. The Hood and HMS Prince of Wales dashed to intercept them west of Iceland. Early the following morning Prince of Wales sighted Bismarck 17 miles away and both ships moved towards the German vessels.

The big ships met at 06:00 in the morning. Hood opened fire first. A shell from Prinz Eugen hit Hood on the boat deck, causing a fierce fire. Then a salvo from Bismarck struck HMS Hood. There was an enormous explosion and the ship broke in half and then sank within minutes. Only three of the crew of 1,418 survived.

John has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. (Panel 45 Column 1)

Reginald Anthony Hargreaves

2/Lieutenant, 4th Durham Light Infantry, ( Attached to 2nd Durham Light Infantry ).

Missing In Action on the 28th June 1917 aged 21.

Reginald was born on the 28th June 1896 the son of Richard Tattersall & Elinor Hargreaves of The Old Rectory, Benington Park. He was educated at Stanstead Hall and later, between May 1910 and July 1914, at Radley College. He joined the Army on the 28th September 1914 and arrived in France on the 1st June 1915.

On the 28th October 1915 Reginald was in charge of fatigue posts at St.Jean, part of the defences at Potijze. Here he received a shell wound to his back and was put out of action. He returned to the Battalion in time to serve with it during the Somme offensives and was again wounded on the 25th September 1916, this time by shell fragments in his face which knocked him to the ground injuring his ankle. He returned to his unit on the 8th December 1916 and on the 17th January 1917 received further wounds, this time whilst serving in the Cambrin sector.

On the 28th June 1917, his 21st Birthday, he was chosen to lead two parties, consisting of 2 Sergeants, 4 Corporals and 36 Privates, in a raid on German trenches, south-east of Cameron Crater.  The raiders waited in a trench called Novel Alley whilst the British artillery laid down a barrage. At 7.10pm, as soon as the barrage lifted they jumped into the enemy trenches and as he led his men forward he was shot in the head at close range.

Reginald has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Loos Memorial. 

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

 

William James Hawkins

33618, Private, 5th Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.

Died on the 5th April 1918 aged 22

(Formerly 5825 Hertfordshire Regiment)

William was born on the 22nd September 1896, the son of Charles and Emma Hawkins of Old School Green, Benington and enlisted in the Hertfordshire Regiment on the 13th November 1915.

He embarked for France on the 5th July 1916 and was posted to the 6th Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment on the 7th September 1916. William was then posted to the 6th Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry on the 10th September 1917 and his Service Number changed to 33618. His last leave was from the 26th October to 6th November 1917. He was then posted to the 5th Battalion of the same Regiment on the 10th February 1918.

William was wounded and taken Prisoner on the 21st March 1918, the first day of the German Spring Offensive on the Western Front. He died at 3.45pm on the afternoon of the 5th April 1918 from gunshot wounds at the Charleville War Hospital near Limburg in Germany, after being held for only two weeks. He was originally buried in the Hospital Grounds in Grave 617.

William is buried in the Terlincthun British Cemetery, Wimille, France. (17.F.1.) 

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

Thomas Hunt

Private.

Thomas Hunt was the son of Annie Hunt a widow who lived at Boxall Farm, Benington. He was born in Bourn, Cambridgeshire.
There were a number of casualties during WW1 with the same surname and initials. The author would be grateful for any information that could assist in identifying this man.

Percival John Kitchener

G/71766, Private, 23rd Middlesex Regiment.

Killed In Action on 19th August 1918 aged 33.

Percival was the son of Charles & Sarah Kitchener, a local Grocer, of the Post Office Stores, Benington. Prior to joining the Army he worked as a Carpenter.

He was killed when his Battalion relieved American troops near the town of Kemmel.

He is buried in the Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Poperinge, Belgium. (25.C.23A.) 

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

Ernest William Stephen Mayes

14864, Private, 1st Bedfordshire Regiment.

Killed In Action on the 19th June 1915 aged 24.

Ernest was the son of Herbert & Jane Elizabeth Mayes. The same shell killed both him and another Benington resident, Jack Warner, as they slept in a trench.

Ernest is buried in the Larch Wood (Railway Cutting) Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium. (2.H.4.)

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

Gerald Desmond Mills

Major, 19 Squadron. Royal Flying Corps.

Killed In Action on the 19th May 1917 aged 26.

Major Gerald Mills

The youngest son of Canon Mills of Benington Rectory. Educated at Haileybury College and later at Sandhurst. Gerald was commissioned into the Notts & Derbys Regiment in October 1910. His elder brother, 2/Lt. G.E.Mills had been killed in action with the 1st Battalion of the Notts. & Derbys Regiment at Moedwil on the 30th September 1901 during the Boer war.

Gerald served for over three years in India and returned to the UK in March 1914 to join the RFC. On the 7th April 1915 he went to France as a Flight Commander with No.7 Squadron. He was flying RE5 737 on 28 April 1915, with Lt Murray as observer, when he was involved in combat with an LVG. On 21 July 1915, he was flying RE 5 2458 with 2Lt R C McPherson as observer when he fought an unidentified enemy aircraft. On 18 September 1915, he was flying RE5 2457 with 2Lt Layton as observer when he was attacked by a Fokker. On 26 September 1915, again in 2457 with 2Lt Layton, Capt Mills had a fight with an Albatros 2 miles south of Lille.

He returned as an instructor at Central Flying School in January 1916 and was gazetted a Squadron Commander in April of that year. On 16 November 1916, flying a single seat Bristol Scout, Capt Mills attacked an Albatros over the Forest d'Houthulst. He fired one round from his Lewis gun before it jammed. Being unable to clear his weapon, he was forced to break off the combat.

After being appointed to the Air Board office in March 1917 he applied to return to active service and he returned to France on the 15th May 1917 with 19 Squadron based at Vert Galand. Four days after he arrived in France Gerald was killed in an accident whilst flying a Spad S7 (A6749).

He is buried at Doullens Cemetery, France. 

Medal Entitlement: British War Medal & Victory Medal

Gerald Page

7957644, Trooper, 44th Royal Tank Regiment.

Killed In Action on the 18th July 1943 aged 22.

Gerald was the son of Charles & Maud Page and the husband of Gladys Page. He was a pupil at Alleynes school in Stevenage where he was described as being an average student who had the ability to pull out all the stops when required in order to save a situation, particularly on the sports field. On leaving school Gerald was employed by Mott’s Garage in Watton at Stone until he was called up for service in the army.

He joined the 44th Royal Tank Regiment in April 1942 and on completion of his training was posted overseas. The Regiment was part of the 4th Armoured Brigade and had only been serving in Sicily for a week when they were called to support an infantry assault. The Germans had positioned themselves in a wood on the edge of the Catanian Plain and it was clear that if the Allied forces were to continue their invasion the enemy had to be dislodged. As the assault got underway Gerald’s tank was hit and he was instantly killed.
Gerald is buried in the Catania War Cemetery, Sicily. (2.C.35)