The extraordinary story of the First World War soldier from Warrington whose family were wrongly told was dead

The extraordinary story of the First World War soldier from Warrington whose family were wrongly told was dead

The extraordinary story of the First World War soldier from Warrington whose family were wrongly told was dead

First published in News

THROUGHOUT this year we are looking back in our archives at how the Warrington Guardian reported on the First World War.

This week we look at a man who was very lucky to be alive.

THE grieving parents of one WWI soldier were left in a state of shock when they received a letter from their son – who had been pronounced dead two weeks previous.

Private E. Bennett had joined the 6th Battalion South Lancashire Regiment shortly after war was declared, having formerly worked as a rope-maker.

Mr and Mrs John Bennett, his parents, of Bewsey Road, had been informed by the War Office that their 31-year-old son had died while in action in Dardanelles, Turkey.

A letter of condolence was sent to the parents, describing the ‘fallen’ soldier as ‘very popular among his comrades’.

However doubts were cast over the exact date of the death when the parents received a letter dated July 18, despite being told their son had passed away on July 16.

The Warrington Guardian printed this information in the August 11 edition in 1915, as part of a routine tribute page to Warrington soldiers who had been wounded and lost in battle.

To everybody’s surprise and delight, news came to light that there had been a mix up at the War Office and, in fact, Private E. Bennett was alive and well.

Mr and Mrs John Bennett expressed their subsequent relief in the August 28 edition of the Warrington Guardian and said they were ‘naturally overjoyed’ at the news.

Three letters in early August followed with regular updates as to Private E. Bennett’s whereabouts and wellbeing.

One of them read: “You will be very glad to hear that we are not at present in any danger for we are a few miles away from the scene of the fighting, but I don’t know how soon we will be amongst it again.

“You might let the lads at work know that I am all right, and would have written only for being short of paper.”

It is known that Private E. Bennett’s brother, Private William Bennett , aged 22 at the time, was also serving in Dardanelles at the same time.

We would love to hear from anybody who may be related to Private E. Bennett, or knows more about his fascinating story.

You can e-mail newsdesk@guardiangrp.co.uk.

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