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William Bendall

SRoH.     In Stewartry Roll of Honour as W. Bendall, Gatehouse ; but no details.
Identified from an article in the Kirkcudbrightshire Advertiser 6th October 1916.

Army records:
Attestation (no date) - William Bendall 4273 2nd Lowland Brigade R.F.A. Born Girthon, Gatehouse. Age 28 & 7 months. Labourer with Messrs. Smith & McLean, Glasgow. Home - 28 Clark Street, Glasgow. Had previously served with Kirkcudbrightshire Battery, discharged at own request. Married 05/08/1914 at Kirkcudbright - William was 5'6'' with normal vision and a good physique.
William's army number seems to change to 655673.
05/08/1914 driver with Kirkcudbrightshire Battery.
11/12/1914 A/Bombardier with Kirkcudbrightshire Battery.
12/03/1915 Driver with Kirkcudbrightshire Battery.
All above seem to have been served at home.
08/06/1915 Mediterranean Expeditionary Force with 1st Bde. R.F.A. C as a driver until 23/03/1917.
24/03/1917 to 15/03/1919 - Palestine.
16/03/1919 to 02/04/1919 Enroute home.
03/04/1919 to 30/04.1919 Home before discharge.
Next of kin - Mary Bendall (wife), 28 Clark Street, Glasgow.
Crossed out and replaced with Home address - St John's Street, Whithorn.
04/03/1919 Character reference: William Bendall serving with 261st Bde. R.F.A. as a groom. He is good and reliable.
03/04/1919 Protection Certificate: 655673 261st Bde. Driver R.F.A. (born 1886) Address for pay - St John Street, Whithorn.
31/03/1921 Pension award: 655673 W. Bendall, 63 Plantation Street, Glasgow.
Born 1887. He suffered from malaria. Awarded 7/6 for 35 weeks.
Next of kin John S. Whithorn, Gallows Arms, Newton Stewart (This is a transcription error by the army) This is crossed out and replaced by wife Mary Burnett (married 01/06/1919 at Laurieston).
31/03/1921 : he applied for his medals (14/15 Star, British & Victory medals).

1901 Girthon Census, at High Street, next to the Well Entry: William Bendall (16, born Gatehouse) with father William (41, saddler journeyman), wife Elizabeth, brothers, John (12), Thomas (6), James (2) and sister Mary J. Bendall.
William snr. was 41 in 1901 and unlikely to be suitable for war duty by 1914.

1911 Girthon census, in Birtwhistle Street, a William Bendall, (24, general labourer, born Girthon) with wife Mary + step-son James Burnett.

Kirkcudbrightshire Advertiser 6th October 1916 : an article about William Bendall ends  'his parents resided in Gatehouse and there are two other sons serving - one with the Kirkcudbrightshire Battery (William) and one in Gordon Highlanders.'

Girthon Banns: William Bendall, Girthon  married Mary Burnett from Balmaghie Banns read on 30/05/1919.

Scotlands People Marriage : 1909 William Bennett to Mary Burnet at Balmaghie.
Note: Laurieston is a village in Balmaghie Parish.

His brothers James (Gordon Highlanders) and Thomas (Scots Guards) were also soldiers.

Gatehouse link:  Born and raised in Gatehouse.

James Bennett

SRoH.     Gunner James Bennett.          Home: Roseberry Terrace, Gatehouse.
Enlisted October 1914, Kirkcudbrightshire Battery, RFA.   (Royal Fleet Artillery)
Discharged March 1916 on account of youth.
Rejoined July 1918, Royal Scots Fusiliers.
Died from pneumonia on 30th October 1918 at Dunfermline.

James enlisted when he was only 14 years old. He was discharged and re-enlisted in July 1918. He died of pneumonia at Dunfermline while still in training.

Anwoth & Girthon War Memorial, Gatehouse inscription : James Bennett  R.S.F.

Girthon Gravestone: 61471 Private J. Bennett Royal Scots Fusiliers 30th October 1918 age18.

CWGC:  Private with Royal Scots Fusiliers, 4th Battalion. Service No. 61471.
       Father : Robert Bennett, Roseberry Terrace. Mother Margaret McGeoch
       Died 30/10/1918, aged 18.

Soldiers who Died in Great War:  Private James Bennett - Born, Girthon, Kirkcudbrightshire. Lived in Gatehouse of Fleet. Enlisted at Galashields, Selkirkshire as a Private 61471 in Royal Scots Fusiliers 4th (Reserve) Battalion. Died 30 Oct 1918 at 'Home'.

Army Records : Attestation in October 1914 - James Bennett, 4367 2nd Lowland Bde. R.F.A.
Born in Girthon, Gatehouse. Age 17yr. 7 months (actually only 14).
He was a farm servant living and working for Mr Stanley (Mc)Cutcheon at Barlay, Gatehouse.
He was 5'6'' with normal vision and good physical development.
He served as a gunner from 04/10/1914 to 23/03/1916 on Home Service.
One record dated 06/04/1915 says Driver J. Bennett R.F.A.
Discharged 05/02/1916 -Para. 292 VI (A) Kings Regs. (because he was under 17) and transferred to Provisionals.
Given v.g. character reference.
Father: Robert Bennett, Roseberry Terrace, Gatehouse.

1901 Girthon Census, Swan Street :  James Bennett (aged 1, born Gatehouse) with parents Robert (sawyer at bobbin mill) and Margaret + 3 siblings.
(Note: Roseberry Terrace is a continuation of Swan Street).

1911 Girthon Census, Birtwhistle Street : James Bennett (11, born Girthon), with father Robert (wood sawyer) and mother Margaret + 4 siblings.

Kirkcudbrightshire Advertiser 12th August 1921: Unveiling of Gatehouse War Memorial. Wreath laid: ‘In sacred memory of our son Jim, from father and mother, Mr and Mrs Bennett, Roseberry Terrace’

‘Gatehouse and District’ by J E Russell : James Bennett was buried with full military honours in November 1918. The firing party was the Galloway Platoon of the 4th Voluntary Battalion K.O.S.B. His parent’s were Mr & Mrs Bennett, Roseberry Terrace, Gatehouse.

Birth Certificate : James Bennett born 4th March 1900 at Victoria St, Gatehouse. Parents Robert Bennett (bobbin turner) and Margaret McGeoch, married 21st August 1896 at Girthon.

Gatehouse link : Born and lived in Gatehouse.

Army grave in Girthon Cemetery     Private James Bennett

Donald Benson

SRoH : No mention on Stewartry Roll of Honour. We know of Donald Benson after personal contact from his great niece Christine Fulton.

1901 Anwoth census :at Castle Cottage,  Donald Benson (11 months, born Anwoth) with father William (basket maker),  mother Ellen, sister Mary and 3 brothers William James, John George, and Robert.

1911 Anwoth census: at Killeron Cottage, Donald (11, born Anwoth) with father William (farm labourer), mother Ellen and brothers John George and Robert.

Donald was the son of William Benson and Helen (Ellen) Glencross and a brother of John George and William James Benson.

Army unit unknown. He survived the war but he was probably injured as there is a group photo of him wearing hospital 'Blues'

Gatehouse link : Born and raised in Gatehouse area.

John Benson

SRoH.         Private John Benson.        Home: Gatehouse.
Mobilised 4th August 1914, 1/5th King’s Own Scottish Borderers.
Served on Eastern Front (Dardanelles & Egypt).
Killed in Palestine, 8th November 1917.

Anwoth & Girthon War Memorial, Gatehouse inscription :   John Benson     K.O.S.B.

Girthon Gravestone: ...also John their son killed in action in Palestine 8th November 1917 aged 21 years.  Father: John Benson, Mother: Margaret Houston.

CWGC: Private J. Benson   240315    K.O.S.B. 1st/5th Battalion.     Died 8th November 1917    Buried Gaza War Cemetery, Israel   Grave: XIX.E.9

Soldiers died in the Great War website : Enlisted 4th August 1914 at Dumfries. In May 1915 he sailed from Liverpool and landed in Gallipolli in June 1915.  He was killed in action on 8th November 1917.

Soldiers died in the Great War website :  he was born in Colton, Lancashire but his home was Gatehouse, Kirkcudbrightshire.

Medal Index Card: Pte John Benson KO Sc. Bord. (1540 and 240315) Went to Balkans 6th April 1915. Killed in action 8th November 1917.

1901 Colton Census, Lancashire, John BENSON (age 4, born Haverthwaite, Lancashire) with uncle and aunt John & Margaret Benson. John snr.was 56 and  a hoopmaker from Colton and Margaret was 52, born Scotland.
(Note Haverthwaite St Anne’s is in the Parish of Colton in the Registration District of Ulverston, Lancashire)

1911 Girthon Census, Catherine Street : the same John Benson senior (66, retired hoopmaker , born England,) with wife Margaret (63, born Kelton) + a daughter and 3 grandchilren PLUS nephew John HOUSTON (14, born England) a worker at the bobbin mill.

Dumfries & Galloway Standard : April 1916, gives his parents as John & Margaret Benson of Catherine Street, Gatehouse.

Kirkcudbright Advertiser 7/12/1917 mentions ‘John Benson... a Gatehouse lad’ who had been employed at ‘Messrs Walker & Co.’s Bobbin Mills, Gatehouse’

John had 2 army numbers : 1540 and 240315, both K.O.S.B.

There is a complication with John’s birth: He appears to have been born as John Houston  in Q3 1896 at Ulverstone, Lancashire (ex GRO).

John Benson is not in 1901 or 1911 Girthon or Anwoth censuses BUT
It seems that John and Margaret regarded John jnr. as their own son although he was probably a nephew (with a birth mother named Houston maybe from someone in Margaret’s family).
John snr. already had a son called John born c.1868 Anwoth with his first wife Margaret McKill from Minnigaff, whom he had married in 1867. His first wife must have died for he married Margaret Houston his second wife (born c.1848, Kelton) in 1880 at Anwoth. She would probably have been too old to have a son in 1896.
(Note: The first son John  Benson was still alive and working as a miner in Yorkshire in 1911)

Gatehouse link : Lived in Gatehouse (at least in 1911 census) & worked at Bobbin Mill.

Benson family gravestone at Girthon Cemetery.

John George Benson

SRoH.     Private John George Benson.      Home: Ornockenoch, Gatehouse.
Enlisted January 1916, 3rd Cameron Highlanders.   Transferred to 5th Battalion.
Served in France (Somme & Arras).
Reported missing at Chemical Works, Roeux on 3rd May 1917, and presumed killed.

Anwoth & Girthon War Memorial, Gatehouse inscription  :  J.G. Benson   C.H.

Anwoth Church Memorial:    Pte John C. Benson      Camerons

CWGC: Private John George Benson, S/22105 Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders (5th Battalion).   Died 03/05/1917 (aged 20)     On Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais (Bay 9).
Son of William & Helen Glencross Benson, Fleet St. Gatehouse.

Soldiers who Died in Great War :   Private John George Benson - Born Anwoth, Kirkcudbrightshire. Lived Gatehouse of Fleet. Enlisted at Dumfries as Private S/22105 Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders (5th Battalion).    Killed in action 3 May 1917 France & Flanders.

1901 Anwoth census : John George Benson (5, born Anwoth), living at Castle Cottage with father William, (a basket maker) and mother Ellen and 4 siblings.

1911 Anwoth census : John George Benson (15, born  Anwoth) was a farm labourer living at Killeron Cottage, with father William Benson (a farm labourer), mother Ellen and brothers Robert and Donald. (Note: Killeron Cottage is near Ornockenoch)

Kirkcudbrightshire Advertiser 25th May 1917: Private John Benson, Cameron Highlanders, son of Mr & Mrs Benson, Ornockenoch has been officially reported missing.

Kirkcudbrightshire Advertiser date unknown : 1st photo below was annotated saying he was from New Galloway - not sure why.

Kirkcudbrightshire Advertiser 12th August 1921: Unveiling of Gatehouse War Memorial. Wreath laid: ‘In loving memory from William Benson, Ornockenoch’

Birth record : Born in 1896 Anwoth    Parents: William Benson & Helen Glencross.

John (known as Jack) had a brother Robert who also fought in the war and survived.

Gatehouse link : Born and lived in Anwoth.

John George Benson     Memoriam poem to John George Benson     1st page of Red Cross letter     2nd page of Red Cross letter

Key to Sources

Roll of Honour

War Memorials


Commonwealth War Graves

Army Records

Census Records


Other Sources