Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

Herbert Bennett

Herbert Bennett :

Herbert Bennett : Allied Victory Medal

Allied Victory Medal

Herbert was born on the 26th August 1888. We don't know anything about his early life or his family.

On the 29th October 1910 Herbert married Caroline Yates at Glodwick Parish Church in Oldham. They made their home together at 3 Mercy Street in the town. In 1911 Herbert worked as a carter for a railway company and Caroline was a copper tube maker.

The First World War broke out in August 1914. Herbert enlisted into the Army on the 8th December 1915 in Ashton-under-Lyne. Conscription would be introduced at the end of the year so he may have decided to volunteer before this happened. When he enlisted Herbert was 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 133 pounds. He had a 'fresh' complexion, and brown hair and eyes.

Herbert was not mobilised by the Army until the 17th September 1917. We don't know why he was not mobilised sooner. This does mean that Herbert was likely to have been in Oldham with Caroline for the birth of their daughter, Hilda, on the 15th October 1916.

Shortly before he was mobilised a 'heavy wheel' had rolled over his right foot and crushed his toes. On the 17th September 1917 Doctor Wilson of 264 Waterloo Street, Oldham certified that Herbert was 'unable to walk or stand except for short period for at least 14 days'.

Despite this, he was assigned to the 3rd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment and given the service number 55769. Herbert stayed in the UK training until the 16th January 1918, when he was sent to France.

We don't know much about Herbert's time in France. On the 22nd January he was assigned to the 2/9th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. This unit was absorbed into the 1/9th Battalion on the 19th February 1918, and then reduced to a small number of soldiers, known as a cadre, in April. We don't know where Herbert served during this period.

The next definite event in Herbert's Army career occurred on the 18th June 1918, when he was transferred to the 2nd Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment. He was given a new service number: 31776. Herbert appears to have stayed with this unit until the end of the war. He joined the 11th Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment on the 8th May 1919, and returned to the UK on the 8th September.

On the 26th October Herbert was transferred to the Class Z Army Reserve. This meant he could return home to Caroline and Hilda, but he could be recalled to the Army if fighting with Germany broke out again. It never did and the Class Z Reserve was disbanded in March 1920. Herbert had been promoted to Temporary Corporal in the Reserve on the 12th November 1919.

The rest of Herbert's life remains a mystery. Along with the Allied Victory Medal, Herbert was also awarded the British War Medal for his Army service.

Museum of the Manchester Regiment
c/o Portland Basin Museum
Portland Place
Heritage Wharf
Ashton-under-Lyne
OL7 0QA

Telephone: 0161 343 2878
Email: Portland.Basin@tameside.gov.uk
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Trustees of the Manchester Regiment Museum & Archive and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council