(Service number 23/2156)
|First Rank||Rifleman||Last Rank||Rifleman|
|Date||30 January 1875||Place of Birth||Pleasant Valley near Geraldine|
|Address at Enlistment||Martinborough|
|Previous Military Experience|
|Next of Kin||Mrs DRAKE (sister), "Truro", North Street, Timaru|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||New Zealand Rifle Brigade|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||5th Reinforcements, 1st Battalion, E Company|
|Date||1 April 1916|
|Transport||Tahiti or Maunganui|
|Embarked From||Wellington||Destination||Suez, Egypt|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||Rifle Brigade|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
P & T employee
|Date||18 January 1953||Age||78 years|
|Place of Death||Auckland|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland|
|Memorial Reference||Block K, Row 3, Plot 69|
|New Zealand Memorials|
Stephen Bennett was born on 30 January 1875 at Geraldine, the sixth son in a family of nine sons and two daughters – the family of William and Mary (née Foley) Bennett who had married in 1861 at St Mary’s, Timaru, and settled at Pleasant Valley soon after. Along with his sblings, Stephen was educated at Pleasant Valley School, where he enjoyed considerable success – a prize for Standard III awarded at the annual sports day in January 1884; first prize for Standard V awarded at the annual treat and prizes in April 1887; and first place in the Flat racing, Boys 11 to 13 at the annual school treat in February 1888.
He named his younger sister as next-of-kin - Mrs Drake (Mary Elizabeth), “Truro”, North Street, Timaru. His mother had died at her North Street residence (“Fairfield Villa”) in 1914; his father was to die in 1923. Rifleman S. Bennett embarked with the New Zealand Rifle Brigade of the 5th Reinforcements, leaving Wellington on 1 April 1916 for Suez, Egypt. The casualty list published at the beginning of October 1916 recorded S. Bennett as wounded and having embarked for England. Rifleman Stephen Bennett, who was wounded at the Somme, returned to New Zealand by Draft 156 and was due in Timaru in mid May 1918. He and two comrades were given a hearty reception when the train reached the station on 13 May. The mayor expressed the pleasure of all present at having them back once more. “He said that no one could properly estimate the debt all owed to our soldiers. but it was a big debt, and be would leave it to them to say how big.” On the mayor’s call, three lusty cheers were given.
Stephen died on 18 January 1953 at Auckand, aged 78 years, and was buried in Waikumete Cemetery, a services stone marking his grave.
Two brothers of Stephen saw World War One service with the New Zeaand Forces – Herbert John Bennett and Jonathan (Tom) Bennett. Another younger brother – Harold Bennett – served in the South African War. Three of his older sister’s (Catherine Annie Bennett Brown) family also saw service – Eleanor Lawson Brown with Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps, James Lawson Brown and William Lawson Brown with the New Zealand Forces; and the oldest son of his oldest brother (William Francis Bennett) served with the New Zealand Forces – Francis Oswald Bennett. Another nephew, Francis Henry Bennett, lost his life in Greece in 1941.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [07 May 2021]; Waikumete Cemetery headstone transcription; Waikumete Cemetery burial record (Auckland Council); Temuka Leader, 19 January 1884, 5 April 1887, 4 February 1888, Auckland Star, 3 October 1916, Timaru Herald, 10 & 14 May 1918 (Papers Past) [07 May 2021; 23 July 2021]
No documents available.
Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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