When the 1901 Census was taken, the Bennetts were living at 33 Nelson Street, Hazel Grove. 35 year old Samuel Bennett worked as a spinner at a local cotton mill and was married to Elizabeth. They had six children – Thomas (then 12), Martha (10), David (7), Fred (6), William (4) and Mary (1).
Fred is thought to have enlisted into the army around September 1915 and was probably working away from home as he joined up at West Ham. Recruitment for 190th Brigade was organised by Wimbledon Borough Council and, after training, he will have gone overseas on active in May 1916.
Only a few months later, the family will have heard that David had been killed in action on 28 November whilst serving with the Cheshire Regiment.
In the autumn of 1917, Fred and his comrades will have been in action for several weeks during the Third Battle of Ypres (often known as Passchendaele). He is known to have been badly wounded and died whilst at a Casualty Clearing Station (a field hospital in today’s terms). It is not known when he was wounded but men did not usually stay for a more than a couple of days – either their condition stabilised sufficiently for a further evacuation to full hospital facilities away from the battlefield, or they died. In the two days prior to his death, the Brigade was preparing to move to new positions south of the Menin Road on the outskirts of Ypres. The men were in working parties carrying forward the ammunition to new store dumps. On 1 October, they took up their positions near Dormy House and, by midnight, all the guns were in action. No doubt, Fred’s fatal wounds will have come from enemy shellfire.
Further information about Fred can be found in the book “Hazel Grove to Armageddon” by John Eaton