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© Barns Green - A Local History of The Great War 2014
Henry Bennett (1892-1919) - Pte 16399 4 th  Bn Royal Sussex Regiment    Henry   Bennet    was   born   26 th    November   1892,   the   third   of   the   five   sons   of   the   Bennet   family   who   were   to   work   the   brick   pit   in   Cross Lane   from   1904.   He   was   the   eldest   of   the   five   Bennett   children   to   be   schooled   at   Itchingfield.   He   signed   up   for   the   2 nd /4 th    Battalion Royal   Sussex   Regiment   as   Pte   3965   on   the   11 th    December   1915,   just   one   day   after   his   brother   John   signed   for   The   Queen’s   (Royal   West Surrey Regiment).    Although   obviously   eager   to   serve   his   country   his   story   is   a   sad   one.   By   May   1916,   after   collapsing   short   of   breath   during   drill,   he   was hospitalised   in   Purfleet   suffering   from   what   was   diagnosed   as   pleurisy.   A   second   longer   spell   in   hospital   followed   in   August/September but   he   was   returned   to   duty   and   unbelievably   transferred   to   the   13 th    Sussex   and   sent   overseas   with   the   Regiment   landing   in   France   on the 15 th  October 1916. Conditions   at   the   front   obviously   exacerbated   his   condition   and   he   was   hospitalised   again   on   the   27 th    December.   This   time   TB   was suspected   and   he   was   shipped   home   on   a   hospital   ship   and   sent   to   the   Military   Hospital   at   York.   By   14 th    March   TB   was   confirmed   and Henry   was   discharged   from   the   army   as   medically   unfit   on   the   4 th    April   1917.   He   does   not   however,   appear   to   have   been   awarded   the Silver War Badge. He   was   granted   a   pension   in   respect   of   his   TB   and,   following   a   brief   spell   in   a   sanatorium   at   Ockley,   returned   home   to   Cross   Lane   where he   died   on   the   3 rd    May   1919.   He   was   buried   just   three   days   later   under   the   rites   of   his   Congregational   Faith   but   in   the   Anglican   Church of The Holy Innocents in Southwater. 
He   was   awarded   the   Victory   and   British   War   Medals   for   his   service   and   is   remembered on the Itchingfield War Memorial. In   December   2014   he   finally   received   official   recognition   for   his   sacrifice   and   was   listed in   the   Commonwealth   War   Graves   Commission   records.   It   is   hoped   that   in   due   course   his last resting place will be marked with an official headstone. Henry’s   service   and   pensions   records   survive   and   can   be   found   online   on   both   Ancestry or Findmypast  or on microfilm at the National Archives in Kew.
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