BENSON, George Agar Trevor

Benson, GATSecond Lieutenant, 1st Bn., Middlesex Regiment.

Born

Son of the Rev. Arthur Hall Trevor Benson and Emily Maud Benson, formerly of Johannesburg, S.A., late of Abbots Bromley, Rugeley, Staffordshire.

Education

Blundell's School, “Westlake”. Entered the school aged 14 in June 1910 – Christmas 1914. He was a school monitor and a member of the school OTC from 1912 to 1914 attaining the rank of Corporal. He attended camp in 1912 and 1914. A member of the band, he also sang (bass) in the choir. In 1915 he won a prize cadetship to Sandhurst attaining 12th place.

Service

He received his commission in May 1915 and was recommended for promotion to Lieutenant on 9th September 1915. On 13th May 1916 his father was informed by telegram that he had been wounded in action with three gunshot wounds in his shoulder, left arm and left leg. He was transferred to the Red Cross Hospital (No.1) at Le Touquet, France. His father wrote to the Commander in Chief requesting his son’s address to write and for permission “with my wife, to visit if his injuries render him dangerously ill.” In 1916 his award of the Military cross was gazetted with the following description of service: “For conspicuous gallantry during a raid on the enemy’s trenches. Although wounded before the advance began, he continued to lead with great determination, forced his way through the enemy’s wire, and, although again twice wounded, threw bombs into the trench till his supply was exhausted. He was the last to withdraw after all the wounded had been removed to safety. He also on another occasion made a very daring reconnaissance.”

Trench Diaries

The 1st Bn. Middlesex Regiment were part of 98th Brigade, 33rd Division. In July the battalion were sent by train from Chocques to Longueau arriving on the 9th July then marching to Coisy. On 11th July they moved to Corbie and then on the 13th to Meaulte, moving forward via Becordel-Becourt for attack on 14th July but the operation was cancelled and the regiment were bivouacked just north of Fricourt. They then moved to Bazentin-le-petit on 15th July and commenced attack on Switch Line against heavy machine gun fire from both flanks which brought the attack to a standstill after advancing through the village. They were relieved by 4th Kings Liverpools and sent to bivouacs north east of Mametz wood, having lost over 300 of their men. During August the Regiment continued to do duties around Bazentin-le-Petit, Mametz and High Wood then in early September they took over trenches at Hebuerne sector To Sailly-au-Bois on the 26th September and to Ivergny on the 1st October. Wanquetin on the 23rd and then to trenches in the Lesboeufs sector on 24th October from where an attack on Rainy Wood and Dewdrop trenches resulted in the successful capture of the trenches on the 28th October 1916.

Death

28th October 1916, near Lesboeufs, Somme. His father was informed by telegram on 2nd November, the Council for War deeply regret to inform that he was killed in action on 27th October 1916. This date was amended by a letter on 2nd Dec 1912 to 28th October 1916.

Burial/Commemoration

2/Lt Benson has no known grave so is commemorated on Theipval Memorial, Theipval, Somme, Pillar , face.

Memorial

Theipval Memorial is on the D73, off the Main Bapaume to Albert (D929) The Memorial, 150 feet high, was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and can be seen from many of the battle sites in the surrounding area. It has sixteen piers on whose faces the names of all the men who have no known grave are inscribed. An excellent interpretation centre has been built nearby with research facilities and an “on line” memorial to the missing which contains much valuable information.

Research

Commonwealth War Graves Commission - www.cwgc.org
The National Archives, Kew WO 339/47301
Cemeteries & Memorials in Belgium & Northern France (2004) Commonwealth War Graves Commission. 25/490
The Register of Blundell's School, Part II 1882 – 1932” (1932) MAHOOD, A.S., Ed. Entry No. 5470
“British battalions on the Somme” WESTLAKE, R. (2004) Pen and Sword
Field visit (JEA & GRY 28/7/2006)

 

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