Harry James Bennett (1891–1918), Lieutenant in the 21st Battalion Canadian Infantry (Eastern Ontario Regiment) (59056), and 49th Squadron Royal Air Force Royal Canadian Air Force, was killed in action at Lille on 24 September 1918, aged 28. His death is commemorated at the Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery Souchez, in the Pas de Calais region of northern France and the war memorial at St Andrew the Great, Cambridge.

Harry James Bennett inscription
Harry James Bennett inscription

Harry was born on 15 April 1891 in Cambridge. He was the eldest of three children of Henry James Bennett and Mary Ann Alberta Bennett (née Saggers). He emigrated to Canada where he worked as a trade mechanic at McLaughlin Buick Auto Factory, Oshawa, Ontario between 1911 and 1913. He then became a garage proprietor at Pembroke, Ontario between 1913 and 1914.

Harry joined the war effort at Kingston, Ontario, Canada on 6 November 1914. He returned to England with the Battalion in May 1915. He then transferred to the 2nd Division Supply Column, Canadian Army Service Corps in August 1915 before being sent to France in September. Harry acted as an observer between December 1916 and July 1917 with 10 Squadron Royal Flying Corps before returning again to England for pilot training. He received his training at Thetford, Ford Farm, Lake Down & Turnberry before being sent to 49 Squadron (Beauvois), France on 31 August 1918.

He was flying an Airco DH.9 single-engined bi-plane with observer 2/Lt R. H. Armstrong on a bombing raid to Aulnoye railway junction, east of Cambrai when he was shot down on 24 September 1918. Harry and Armstrong were captured as prisoners of war but Harry was severely wounded and died of wounds the same day. The 49 Squadron formation was attacked by enemy fighters over Lille in France: two observers returned wounded, three aircraft were lost and one pilot was killed.

Harry was entitled to the Victory medal and British war medal. Harry’s death is commemorated at the Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery Souchez, in the Pas de Calais region of northern France, although he was originally buried at Dechy Communal Cemetery (German extension) in Grave No 315. At the time of his death his parents were living at 8 Guest Road, Cambridge. His next of kin was Clara Kinnear (née Bennett), whose address was 15 Victoria Street, Cambridge. Clara was his younger sister.

Bennett grave
Bennett grave




Lat Lon : 52.202794, 0.13709971 – click here for location

Parish: St Andrew the Great

See family grave page for more information





War Graves Photographic Project
Census returns for England: 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911
England & Wales National Probate Calendar, 1858–1966
Canada, Soldiers of the First World War, 1914–1918

By Emma Easterbrook, Mary Naylor and Ian Bent

Harry James Bennett