Tag Archives: Sidney Bennett



Sidney Bennett (Photograph courtesy of his of his grand-daughters D. Ayers and J. Pemberton)

Sidney Bennett (Photograph courtesy of his of his grand-daughters D. Ayers and J. Pemberton)

Per his military service record (regimental no. 4732), Sidney Bennett was born at Paddington, Sydney. He gave his age as 24 years and 10 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as labourer.  His description on his medical was height 5 feet 9 ½ inches tall, weight 11 stone 5 lbs., with a dark complexion, blue eyes, and dark hair. His religious denomination was Roman Catholic. He completed his medical on the 8th October 1915 at Gilgandra and was attested by Captain Nicholas on the 9th October 1915 at Gilgandra. He claimed to have had no previous military service.

On his embarkation roll his address as time of enrolment was Hornsey, David Street, North Sydney, N.S.W., and his next of kin is listed as father, Mr H. Bennett, Hornsey, David Street, North Sydney, N.S.W.

After completing the march he went to Liverpool Camp as reinforcement for the 13th Battalion.

Private Bennett departed Sydney on the HMAT A15 Star of England on the 8th March 1916. On the 19th of April 1916 he transferred to the 45th Battalion in Egypt.

On the 2nd June 1916 Private Bennett left Alexandria aboard the Kinfauns Castle bound for France, arriving at Marseilles on the 8th June 1916.

On the 22nd September 1916 he received a gunshot wound to his left forearm whilst conducting a working party near Vierstraat, Belgium. He was hospitalised and evacuated to England.

On the 13th September 1918 he was transferred to the 54th Battalion, and on the 11th October 1918 to the 56th Battalion.

Private Bennett commenced his return to Australia on the HT Devanha on 8th May 1919, arriving in Australia on the 19th June 1919. He was discharged on the 10th August 1919.

Day 1, Sunday, 10th October, 1915, Gilgandra to Balladoran

The start at Gilgandra (Daily Telegraph 12/10/1915)

The start at Gilgandra (Daily Telegraph 12/10/1915)

Transcribed from The Farmer and Settler, 12 October, 1915, p. 3.


Gilgandra’s greatest of all events, the start of the route march, became a fact of history on Sunday last, when the contingent after a simple religious ceremony stepped out on its long march to the coast.

On Saturday, when the ‘Farmer and Settler’ special reporter, who will march to Sydney, arrived at Gilgandra, he found Captain Nicholas and Drs. Burkitt and Cooper, of Dubbo, on the ground. Captain Nicholas has been appointed to take charge of the contingent, and be will be their leader and instructor all the way through to Sydney.

On Saturday afternoon twenty-five recruits were sworn in. Two failed to pass the doctor, but they will march through to the coast nevertheless. The number of recruits would have been double if the recruiting association had not been compelled to wait so long for the permission of the military authorities, the result being that many men grew tired of waiting, and went into camp. The doctor said that the Gilgandra men were as fine a body of recruits as he had seen, with good feet and sound constitutions. On Saturday night a torchlight procession paraded the town, headed by the band. The recruits were followed by the rifle club and the boy scouts. In the interval of a picture show, Major Winn, of Sydney, and Private Lee, the ex-clergyman recruit, made special appeals to the young men to volunteer.

There were fully three thousand persons, almost the whole population of the district, at the open-air consecration service on Sunday morning, when the Rev. W. Jenkins commended the men to their Creator.

The shire president, Mr. Barden, said he was sure that the twenty-five starting out would be five hundred at the end of the long march. Almost the whole of the people, the largest gathering ever seen at Gilgandra, accompanied the march to Boberah, where a general programme of hand-shaking took place. A guard of honor of young horsewomen   rode at the head of the procession, and the local recruiting association and shire councillors took part. Captain Nicholas formed up his little force — grown already to thirty-one men; and Mr. W. T. Hitchens had the honor of giving the first words of command–‘Quick march.’ Amid resounding cheers the route march had begun, and it was followed for several miles of its long journey, by a great cavalcade of horses and vehicles. Then there was a halt, with more good-byes, more cheers, and the rifle club fired a parting volley.

The heat was intense, and the dust hung over the troops like a pillar of cloud — a fiery cloud, so that when the first stop, Marthaguy, was reached, all were grateful for the lunch spread by the residents, and not less for the facilities provided for a wash and a freshen up. At Marthaguy one new recruit fell in. Many of the Gilgandra folk still followed the column. The young daughter of a prominent citizen left her car and marched alongside the men for some distance; she announced her intention of being present in Martin Place at the finish, and declared that if she had been a boy she would have marched all the way, and gone to the front with the contingent. It is a pity that some of the boys have not the spirit of the girls.

Patriotic sons of the West. A 320 mile march (Sydney Mail 20/10/1915)

‘Patriotic sons of the West. A 320 mile march’ – Coo-ees on the road to Balladoran (Sydney Mail 20/10/1915)

At Balladoran the townspeople met the column a mile out of town and escorted them to their camp with banners, and gave them a hearty welcome. The camp was reached at five o’clock, and here another recruit joined the column.

Following are the names of the first twenty-five to enlist:–

John Quinn, John Macnamara, Stanley E. Stephens, Jack Hunt, William L. Hunt, Albert W. Pearce, Leslie W. Greenleaf, Arthur C. Finn, Francis N. White, Alfred Wardroffe, Victor Quinton, William Alston, Sidney Bennett, John R. Lee, Harold Baxter, Charles R. Wheeler, E. T. Hitchen, James McKeown, James Crowford, Charles E. Marchant, Andrew J. MacGregor, Lawrence L. McGuire, Robert C. Campbell, Peter Wilson, and Frank Humphrey.’

Click here to view the article on Trove: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116668904