BENTON, Robert

No. 17502, Corporal, Robert BENTON
Aged 22

Machine Gun Corps, 3rd Battalion
formerly 8592, Suffolk Regiment
Died of his Wounds on Saturday 12th October 1918

Born Pyemoor, Little Downham registered Ely Q3-1895 [3B:538], baptised 4th September 1898.

1901 census...Aged 5, he was living at Pymore, Downham with his father-Robert [36] agricultural labourer born Willingham; his mother- Sarah Ann (née WARD) [36] born Downham; brother- William A [14] postman born Downham; sister- Sarah A [10]; brother- George H. [8] born Downham; sister- Elizabeth M [4] born Downham; sister- Emily 1] born Downham.

1911 census...Aged 16, a farm labourer, he was living at the Cock Inn, Isleham Bank, Soham with his father, mother, brothers William Alfred (farm labourer) and George Henry (farm labourer), sisters Elizabeth Maud and Emily, plus two new siblings, brother- Charles William [9] and sister-Maud Mary [4]. Oddly all the family are now recorded as born in Prickwillow.

By the time his family had completed the death forms they living at Long's Farm, Anchor Drove, Southery, Downham, Norfolk. Robert was recorded as "Native of Lakenheath, Brandon, Suffolk".

The pension card has his father at Undley Hall Estate, Lakenheath.

His elder brother George Henry served as 64200 in South Wales Borderers and is included on the pension card, but dying on 15h January 1922 was outside of the qualifying dates for inclusion on Soldiers Died, or CWGC and only his medal card has been found in the records

Since Robert was in the Machine Gun Corps and died of his wounds some way from the front line, in the absence of his Army records, it is impossible to work out how and where he was injured. Rouen was a major centre for military hospitals.

The Bury Free Press of 26th October 1918 reported:-

News has been received by Mr.and Mrs. Benton, Undley Hall, Lakenheath, that their son, Corpl.R.Benton, Machine Gun Corps has died of wounds received in action. The Matron of 11th Stationary Hospital, in a letter to the parents says he was admitted there on the 7th. He had already undergone a serious operation. A second letter from the Matron states he died very peacefully. The Chaplain of the hospital write:-"I am deeply sorrow to tell you that your son, Corpl R.,Benton, died in this hospital on October 12th. He was badly wounded. Everything possible was done for him. I am sorry for you, but it must be a consolation to know that your son died so that others could live, the greatest thing a man can do."
Sincere sympathy is extended to the bereaved parents, who have another son serving and another who has received his discharge.

Although awarded the 1914 Star, no claim had been made for the Old Contemptible clasp or he never came under fire.

© Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Robert BENTON is buried St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, grave S:2:V:14

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