Herbert William Benstead (1895‒1917), Private (285029) in the 1st/6th Battalion the Gloucestershire Regiment (transferred from the Cambridgeshire Regiment), was wounded and taken back behind the lines to Dambre Camp, Passchendaele, France where he died on 9 October 1917, aged 22. His death is recorded on the Tyne Cot Memorial (Panel 72 to 75) in Belgium and the war memorial of Gonville & Caius College, as well as on this family grave.
Herbert was born in 1895 in Cambridge. He was the second of the six children of William Frederick Benstead and Emily Rosa Benstead (née Moore). He was a College servant at Gonville & Caius College, and he is commemorated on that College’s war memorial. Herbert rowed in “The Long” a race in which the servants’ boat raced against the students’ boat. The servants’ boat also included Robert Walter Leeds and it was coxed by Archibald Fairweather, another kitchen porter. All three of them were to die in the War along with three other servants from the College.
Herbert enlisted as Private (285029) in the 1st/6th Battalion the Gloucestershire Regiment (transferred from the Cambridgeshire Regiment). He was sent to the Western Front and was involved in the 3rd Battle of Ypres. The Brigade plan was that the attack would be made with three battalions, the 1/7th Worcesters, the 1/4th and the 1/6th Glosters, in the front line. Before dawn, the 1/6th Glosters were in place but not the 1/4th Glosters. The last companies were only just getting into place when the barrage started, they having been under arms for over fourteen hours. The troops could not keep up with the barrage and were exposed in machine gun fire from the numerous shell holes as they fell behind.
From a report of the 1/8th Worcestershire Regiment, the action was the Battle of Poelcappelle. They stated that the ground was a morass of shell holes and that it had rained heavily before the attack. Troops had to negotiate the valley of the Steenbeek, pass two captured strongholds and then cross two swamps at Stroembeek and the Lekkerboterbeek. It appears that Herbert was injured and taken back behind the lines at Passchendaele to Dambre Camp, where he died on 9 October 1917, aged 22. He was entitled to the Victory medal and British War medal.
Lat Lon : 52.204076, 0.13784906 – click here for location
Parish : St Andrew the Less
War Graves Photographic Project
Census returns for England: 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911
England & Wales National Probate Calendar, 1858–1966
By Emma Easterbrook and Mary Naylor