Albert BENNETT
Rank: Guardsman
Number: 24628
Unit: 2nd Battalion GRENADIER GUARDS
Date of Death: 25 September 1916
Age:
Cemetery: Guards Cemetery, Lesboeufs, Somme, France

Albert was born in Woodley and lived all his life in the village until he travelled to Hyde to enlist into the army in November 1915. He worshipped at the Primitive Methodist Chapel and also attended the church's Sunday School. It has not been possible to identify all the members of his family but it is known that he had a brother, William, who also served in the Grenadiers.

After finishing training at the end of July 1916, he came home for a short period of leave before leaving for France. The Battle of the Somme had started on 1 July and, in a series of attacks, advances had been made (although not as quick or as far as the military planners had hoped). The attack that was scheduled to begin on 25 September would receive a later official designation as the Battle of Morval. Three Divisions, including the Guards Division, were tasked with capturing the adjacent village of Lesboeufs.

The Regimental History records that on the night of the 21st, the Grenadiers moved forward from Bernafray Wood towards assembly positions near the Ginchy/Lesboeufs Road. When they reached them, they found the trenches were so narrow that the men were unable to sit or lie down and had to remain standing, shoulder to shoulder for hours, until zero hour which was at 12.35pm on the 25th.

At zero, the men left the trenches and dashed across No Man's Land keeping close behind the creeping artillery barrage which rolled forward protecting them. But, as they crossed, they became caught in barbed wire which had been hidden by standing crops which was, miraculously, still growing in the land between the two armies. Officers ordered the men to lie down, while four officers desperately tried to cut the wire. Three were killed and the fourth wounded, but they cut enough to allow the Grenadiers through.

Although strongly held, the objective was captured by 1.30 and, after a brief rest, they pushed on. By now, there were only two officers left and most of the attack was now being led by sergeants. Fifteen minutes later, the second objective had been secured with many of the enemy killed or taken prisoner.

By 2.35, the Coldstream Guards had secured the actual village of Lesboeufs and a new trench line, 100 yards east of the village was established. While the Grenadiers were consolidating this line, a number of casualties were suffered when British artillery shells fell short into their position. Albert was one of 82 men from the Battalion who had been killed during the day.

   
           
   
     
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