PRIVATE LEONARD ERNEST BENNETT
ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
23RD OCTOBER 1918 AGE 20
BURIED: NIEDERZWEHREN CEMETERY, KASSEL, GERMANY
Private Bennett served in "C" Company, 10th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment. On 10 April 1918 the battalion were holding the front line between Wambeke and the Blauwepoortbeek in the Messines Sector. "C" Company with their officers Captain Kingdom, Lieutenant Jones and Second Lieutenants Avens and Fisher had been placed in three advanced picquet posts, out in front of the front line, to keep a watch for the enemy.
At 2.30 am the Germans began to shell the front line with gas and high explosive shells. Between the first entry at 2.30 am and 6.35 am there are 13 entries in the battalion war diary as the shelling gets heavier and German soldiers get closer. The rest of the day is also minutely recorded although it is difficult to get a sense of exactly what is happening, just that by the time 9.30 pm arrived Battalion HQ had been moved back at least three times.
The battalion were not relieved until the 18 April when the casualties were assessed as 13 officers and 453 other ranks killed, wounded and missing. Among the named officer casualties were Second Lieutenant Fisher, gassed, and Captain Kingdom and Lieutenant Jones missing, three of the four "C" Company officers. Private Ernest Bennett was among the 207 missing other ranks.
Bennett had been taken prisoner. The Red Cross records show that he was "taken on 10.4.18 at Messines" and had "arrived from the Front at Friedrichsfeld". The 'UK, Army Register of Soldiers' Effects' finishes the story - Bennett died on 23 October 1918 whilst a prisoner of war at Kassel of influenza (pneumonia).
He is buried in Niederzwehren Cemetery, Kassel, one of the four permanent British war cemeteries in Germany where those who died as prisoners of war are now buried having been exhumed from sites all over Germany. Bennett's father, Walter Bennett, signed for his inscription, a magnanimous and inclusive inscription for the eldest of his seven children.