202876 Private WILLIAM BENNISON.
2nd Bn, Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment)
Killed in action, age 22, on the 15th April 1918.
Enlisted at Middlesbrough, N Yorks.
Son of Thomas William and Sarah Jane Bennison,
of 9 Park St, Skelton-in-Cleveland, N Yorks.
12k South of Ypres.
1901, William, aged 7, was living at 9 Park St and had been born in Skelton.
His father, Thomas, aged 39, worked in the Ironstone mines as a Bank overman and was born in Guisborough, N Yorks.
His mother, Sarah Jane, age 30, was born in Skelton. She had 4 children and all were living in 1911.
He had three brothers at the time - George 12, Joseph 1 and Thomas 3 mths.
1911 The family is still at 9 Park St and William, now 17 is working as a Butcher's apprentice.
His father, Thomas, age 49 is now a Deputy in the Ironstone mines.
William's battalion were part of the 4th Division.
The Division first went to France in January 1917.
William's Medal Card shows that he did not receive the 1914/15 Star. When he arrived in France and any action that he was involved in prior to his death in April 1918 is not known.
In 1917 the Division fought in the offensives at Arras and later at Ypres, Passchendaele.
In November 1917 the Germans had made a peace with the Russians and in the Spring of 1918, reinforced by Divisions moved from the Eastern front, they launched a series of offensives against what they thought were exhausted British lines.
If they could break through to the coast before the Americans arrived in numbers they could still win the War.
In March they had advanced some 40 miles on the Somme, almost reaching Amiens.
Just as that offensive weakened, they began another attack on the 9th April to the North, on the River Lys, West of Armentieres.
The Allies, mainly British, were driven back some 20+ miles and many men were killed and wounded before the advance was halted.
William was killed at the Battle of Hazebrouck, 12th to 15th April, which was one of the phases of this struggle.
William is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial, which lists more than 11,000 servicemen of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in this sector during the First World War and have no known grave.