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Walter Bentham was born in Bamber Bridge near Preston in 1878 to Enoch and Mary Bentham (nee Cawley). This was Enoch Bentham`s second marriage, his first to Ellen Calland ended when Ellen died in 1864, the couple had six children together. Enoch re-married to Mary Cawley in 1865 in Blackburn and they went on to have eight children including Walter, the others being; Amos (1865), Joseph (1868), Ruth (1870), Naomi (1872), Harriet Ann (1874) Enoch (1876), Walter* (1878), and Eleanor (1881).

In 1891 Walter was working as a cotton weaver and he was living with his family at 131 Chorley Old Road in Walton le Dale.

On the 5th March 1897 he left the cotton mill and enlisted into the 1st Battalion of the Kings Royal Rifle Corps at Blackburn, later transferring to the 2nd Battalion. His age was recorded as 18 years and 2 months but he had actually turned 19 years old, he was 5`4” tall and weighed 118lbs and had red hair and blue eyes.

Walter served in South Africa (Boer War), Ceylon and had two spells in India. However, in January 1903 he was tried by Regimental Court Martial and convicted of “absenting himself without leave”; he spent 21 days in prison for this offence. Unfortunately things didn`t get much better, in October 1903 he was tried again by District Court Martial for “using insubordinate language to his superior officer”, another conviction followed and this time he was awarded 84 days in prison.

He was finally discharged on the 6th January 1905 after 7 years and 308 days service. Upon discharge his papers state (in red ink) “all service forfeited on discharge as incorrigible and worthless!”

After his discharge he returned to Preston and in the December quarter of 1905 he married Mary Swan in St. Peter`s Church in Preston. A son John was born in 1906 but he died the same year and he was followed by two more sons Walter (1907) and Thomas (1910). In 1911 Walter, Mary and the two boys were living at 68 Adelphi Street where Walter was working as a coal cart driver. The couple had another son born in 1912 and gave him the name John.

Unfortunately Walter`s papers have been lost so information about his service is limited but at some point after war was declared he enlisted into the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment at Preston. He was allocated the number 10873 and posted to “B” Coy of the 6th Battalion.

During the evening of the 14th June 1915 the Battalion left Frimley for Avonmouth for embarkation on HMT Braemar Castle, embarkation being finally completed by 4am on the 15th June. They finally set sail on the 17th June going to Gallipoli via Mudros and landed at Anzac Cove on the 4th August 1915.

At some point during the weeks that followed Walter was wounded in action and was eventually repatriated back to England. Sadly, he died in hospital in Cardiff on the 18th December 1915.

The announcement of Walter`s death was published later in the Preston Guardian.Bentham 1

After his death Walter`s body was returned to his family in Preston and he was laid to rest in Preston (New Hall Lane) Cemetery.

Walter was awarded the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals in recognition of his service and sacrifice for his country.Bentham 2

In 1919 Walter`s widow Mary remarried to John Chapple in St. Peter`s Church in Preston.

Rank: Private
Service No: 10873
Date of Death: 18/12/1915
Age: 36
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, “A” Coy. 6th Bn.

Janet Davis
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One Response to 10873 PTE. W. BENTHAM. L.N.LAN.R.

  1. Terry Graham says:

    Private Walter Bentham’s 1914/15 Star is in my collection of First World War Service Medals. The whereabouts of his Silver War Medal and Victory Medal or indeed any medals earned by him for service prior to the First World War is presently unknown.

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