Ben was born in Stockport and lived with his mother at 2 Gloucester Street, Edgeley. He had been a member of the Salvation Army Stockport No. 1 Junior Corps. The Stockport Express, reporting his death, mentioned that he was member of the "S.S.S. Brotherhood" (presumed to be a reference to the Socialist Sunday School Brotherhood).
During March 1916, the Battalion was in training but, on 1 April moved forward to take over the "Moated Grange" sector near the French town of Neuve Chapelle. The Battalion History records
"The trenches were all breastworks and in fairly good condition. Much mining was going on. Three companies and one platoon were in the front line, and three platoons in keeps. The rations here were brought up to the trenches by a light railway."
During the evening of the 2nd, the Cheshires came under heavy artillery fire, with several men being wounded. Captain Innes, Ben's Company Commander, wrote to the family saying that during this time, he had been shot in the head by a German sniper whilst on sentry duty and was killed instantaneously.
(Note: Captain Innes is, presumably, William Robert Innes who was, himself, killed in action on 13 November 1916)
The Stockport Express, in the edition of 13 April 1916, noted that Ben was the first member of the Junior Corps to be killed and there would be an open air service outside his home on the following Sunday.