BENNET, Sydney Garnet

2nd Lieutenant, Sydney Garnet BENNET
Aged 28

2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
formerly 3710, Private, Royal Fusiliers
Killed in Action on Thursday, 20th July 1916

Sydney Garnet BENNET was born in Kirkley on 7th June 1888 (Mutford Q3-1888 4A:868), son of Henry Garnet and Mary S. BENNET (née SPOONER). The surname varies as Bennet or Bennett.

1891 census...Aged 2, he was at Freeman Street, Wells next the Sea, Norfolk, with his father Henry BENNETT [33] a Primitive Methodist Minister, born Milford, Derbyshire; his mother Mary S [33], born Lynn, Norfolk; sisters Lilian M [5] born East Harling, Norfolk and Constance Daisy [1] born Wells next the Sea.

1901 census...Aged 12, his birthplace now recorded as Kirkley, Suffolk, he was at 24 Garland Street, Bury St. Edmunds with his father and sisters Lilian and Constance Daisy. His mother was visiting Frederick and Emma Hayden at 126 Gwydir Street, Cambridge
Educated at the East Anglian School for Boys, Northgate Avenue, Bury St.Edmunds before going on to Higher Grade School in Cambridge.

Admitted to Paradise Street (Higher Grade) School, Cambridge on 2nd September 1901, when resident at "Lyndhurst", Newmarket Road, Cambridge.

1911 census...He has not been identified in this census, but from his Army records he seems to have been in Egypt. His parents were at Victoria Road, Diss.

According to Helen Kennett, an honorary curator at Harleston museum, with help from Diss museum manager, Basil Abbott, Sydney won a scholarship to Downing College, Cambridge in 1907. He played cricket for the College and Suffolk, also a member of the soccer team (photo above from The Griffin, College Magazine, Michaelmas 1916. ). He was later was a teacher in Egypt, returning at the outbreak of war. CWGC have his parents at Springfield Villas, Station Rd., North Walsham, Norfolk. His father applied for an application form for a war pension from 11 Broad Green Avenue, West Croydon
His Army records only have Oakdene, Wellesley Road, Clacton-on-Sea for the family home.

He enlisted in the Royal Fusiliers on 24th November 1914, giving his age as 26 years 170 days, he was 5 feet 4.5 inches (162.6 cm) tall, weighed 140 lbs (63.7 kg), chest 34.5" to 37" (87.6 to 94 cm). Educated at Downing College, Cambridge, he had been employed for 4 years in Egypt as Sub-Inspector Agricultural for the Bank Of Egypt, but had returned to UK specifically to enlist in the Army
On his application for a commission he stated that he spoke French and Arabic, knew Upper and Lower Egypt well and had been riding every day for three years. Unsurprisingly one of his referees considered he was well qualified to serve in Egypt.

He was commissioned on 15th May 1915 and posted to the 3rd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment and sometime later moved to the 2nd Battalion where he served at the time of his death. He arrived in France on 10th February 1916.
On the "Living Relatives form his father entered himself and Sydney's mother and sister Constance living at Oakdene, Wellesley Road, Clacton on Sea and sister Lilian KING living in Colchester.

The "History of the Suffolk Regiment" by Lt Col Murphy has:-
On July 20th the battalion, having assembled and deployed in Pont Street, took part in the renewed attacks of Longueval and Delville Wood. It was still dark when the artillery bombardment lifted and the advance began. The two Suffolk companies in the forward line moved in double lines of platoons with a front of 140 yards each. Much bitter fighting followed, which, though indecisive locally, enabled a footing to be gained in High Wood by a division (33rd) containing another Suffolk battalion, the 4th, and the British line to be linked up thence with Longueval. Casualties included officers killed, Capt A.L.Platts; Lt H.N.Kembels; 2nd Lts S.Johnson and S.G.Bennet. 5 other officers were missing, later reported killed.

CWGC figures have a total , all ranks, killed as 113, of which 87 have no known grave and are named on the Thiepval memorial.

Diss Express, Friday July 28th 1916 page 4:-
"We learn with deep regret that Lieut. Sydney G.Bennett, was killed in action on July 21st (sic). The deceased was the only son of the Rev. H. and Mrs Bennett of Clacton on Sea. The Rev. Bennett was stationed in Diss for some years as Primitive Methodist Minister. Lieut. Bennett was educated at the East Anglian School, Bury St Edmunds and Higher Grade school at Cambridge. Whilst teaching at Springfield School, Ipswich, he gained a scholarship and passed on to Downing College, Cambridge, where, after a successful career he secured a good position in the teaching profession in Egypt. After war was declared he enlisted in the 3rd Suffolks, receiving his commission about 15 months ago. He had served several months in the trenches. He was well known in athletic circles, was good at cricket and often played for Diss, when visiting his parents in the town. He also played football and lawn tennis for local clubs.

Bury Free Press 5th August 1916:-

Second Lieutenant Sydney G.Bennett, Suffolk Regiment, who has been killed in action was the only son of the Rev.H and Mrs. Bennett of Clacton-on-Sea. He was educated at the East Anglian School, Bury St.Edmunds, and the Higher Grade School, Cambridge. Whilst teaching at Springfield School, Ipswich he gained a scholarship and passed on to Downing College, Cambridge, where, after a successful career, he secured a good position in the teaching profession in Egypt. After war broke out he enlisted in the Suffolks, receiving his commission about fifteen months ago. He had served several months in the trenches. lieutenant Bennett was good at cricket and often played for Suffolk

Sydney Bennet is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France pier/face 1C/2A

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details