CWG: Stoker 2nd Class Lionel Bennett

Stoker 2nd Class Lionel Bennett

Lionel James Fowler Bennett was born on 2nd September 1899, in the village of Cainscross, near Stroud in Gloucestershire. He was the only child of insurance agent Harry Bennett and his wife Louisa, who was a weaver.

By the time of the 1911 census, the young family had moved to the Somerset town of Frome. Louisa’s widowed mother had lived with the family since Lionel’s birth, and had moved to Somerset with her son-in-law. The family had also, by this time, taken in a boarder, presumably to help pay the rent.

With the move, Harry had also changed jobs, and was working as a power loom tuner, honing and fixing the weaving equipment. Lionel went into a similar role when he left school but, by now, war was imminent and, as soon as he was able to, he enlisted for King and Country.

Harry joined up shortly after his eighteenth birthday, serving as a Stoker in the Royal Navy. He was sent to HMS Vivid in Devonport for training in November 1917, but, sadly, this was to be his undoing.

Barracks were notorious breeding grounds for infections and, within weeks, Stoker Bennett had been admitted to the Naval Hospital in Plymouth, suffering from pneumonia. He passed away on 5th January 1918, aged just eighteen years old and having served for just sixty days.

Brought back to his home in Frome, Lionel James Fowler Bennett was laid to rest in the Vallis Road Burial Ground (also known as the Dissenters’ Cemetery).

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