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10/1416 Private Hubert (Hugh) Warwick Bennett – Wellington Infantry Regiment

George White Bennett was the first lighthouse keeper of the Wellington’s Pencarrow Lighthouse and drowned in
June 1855 when he was thrown out of the Wellington pilot boat as it crossed Barrett’s Reef. His youngest son William Hebden Bennett was born in December 1855, six months after the death of his father.  William’s mother Mary Jane Bennett was subsequently appointed to the position of Lighthouse Keeper, the only women to hold a position as a lighthouse keeper in New Zealand[i]. In 1865 Mary Jane and her five children moved back to England, reportedly for the education of her children. The three boys, Frank, George and William returned to New Zealand in 1870.

William a trained surveyor was involved in the laying out of Palmerston North. He later, like his mother and father,
became a lighthouse keeper.

William, in 1878, married Margaret Maria Hughes. The couple had seven children with Hubert Warwick Bennett,
the seventh child, born on the 23rd October 1890 after William had left the lighthouse service and was farming in Manakau, Otaki[ii].

Hubert’s older brother Leo Percy Bennett served in the 2nd Anglo-Boar War as 5767 Corporal Signaller Bennett with
the 8th Contingent New Zealand Rifles (South Island Contingent)[iii].

Hubert Warwick Bennett was a single man on 20th December 1914 when he enlisted in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. He was employed as a sheep farmer in Wairoa, Hawkes Bay, possibly for his father W H Bennett of Te Waikopiro, Wairoa, Hawkes Bay who is noted on Hubert’s military papers as his next of kin.[iv]

On 14th February 1914, following basic training in Trentham, 10/1416 Private Bennett, departed with the 3rd Reinforcements, Wellington Infantry Regiment. The 3rd Reinforcements arrived in Egypt in March 1915 and were incorporated into the main body of the Wellington Infantry posted to the 11th (Taranaki) Company.

The Wellington Infantry landed at ANZAC Cove, 25 April 1915 and remained in the sector until 5 May 1915 when it was transferred to the Helles area at the southern area of the Gallipoli Peninsular. The Wellington Infantry were in action on
the 8th May 1915 during the Second Battle of Krithia. Private Bennett was wounded in this battle being evacuated
to Malta arriving on 17 May 1915.[v]    
            
 It was on Malta that there was a ‘Happy Meeting’ with New Zealand nurses as reported  
  
 ‘As soon as I got ashore, an untidy, bedraggled looking man in khaki rushed across the road and greeted me.
He turned out to be Dr Simpson [18], a Scotch boy who was at Porirua, and once came into hospital
(Wellington) with typhoid. He bought over his dilapidated pal, a bundle of cheerful rags, who turned out to be
Dr Trotter,  from the South. They had returned two days ago with a hospital ship of wounded soldiers and how
they had to work! They have scarcely any garments but what they stand up in but are perfectly happy. We were
more than pleased to see them. They are both Captains but wear no badges, and look like two dirty soldiers boys
straight from the trenches. We spent a long time hearing of all our friends at the front, and of the nerve and
bravery of our dear boys. We stopped every boy we met in Malta with New Zealand on him, as all they are
permitted to draw in hospital is 2s per week. One of our nurses heard her brother was wounded before she
left New Zealand, and had not been able to hear anything of him since. The first boy I spoke to happened to
be named Bennett so I asked him if he had a sister who was a nurse, and he turned out to be the missing
brother.  You should have seen the meeting. He had no idea the New Zealand nurses were here... [vi]

The nurse was Private Bennett’s sister 22/14 Nurse Ina Leslie Bennett, New Zealand Army Nursing Service (NZANS)[vii]

By 29th July 1915 Private Bennett was considered fit enough to be sent back to the front. Private Bennett arrived
in Gallipoli and was involved in the Battle for Chunuk Bair. On the 8th August 1915, the Wellington Infantry Battalion
took these important heights. Private Bennett on the 12th August 1915 was wounded with a gunshot wound to his
left thigh. Private Bennett was evacuated to Malta, 13 August 1915. Coincidentally the letter about the ‘Happy Meeting’
was published in the same edition that reported this second wounding.

Private Bennett was transferred to the convalescent camp attached to the
1st NZ Stationary Hospital at Suez. It is possible that Private Bennett was again
visited by his sister Nurse Bennett who was working with the 1st NZSH.

Private Bennett was returned to New Zealand leaving Suez on the
23rd August 1915 for convalescence. At this stage in the war a wounded or
sick serviceman was given six months to recover. If after six months the
serviceman was not suitable to return to war service then they were discharged
from the NZEF.

Private Bennett returned to Russell, North Auckland where his father had moved
to farm. During the convalescence period in North Auckland Private Bennett
meet and married, on the 9th June 1916, Marguerite Carruth[viii].

On the 24th June 1916 Private Hubert Warwick Bennett was discharged from the
NZEF as ‘no longer fit for war service on account of wounds received.’[ix]

14/1416 Private Hubert Warwick Bennett  c1920's

Hubert Warwick Bennett served in the home guard during World War Two entering camp as
2/20/40 Private Bennett, 9th Company, Napier Mounted Rifles, 2nd Hawkes Bay Regiment. Private Bennett’s
WW2 papers note that he was a married man with two children and worked in the Post & Telegraph Department
in Napier.

On the 26th April 1967 Hubert Warwick Bennett was issued with the Gallipoli Lapel Badge and Gallipoli Medallion.
Hubert Warwick Bennett died on the 3rd August 1968 his death being reported to the Ministry of Defence by his wife Marguerite Bennett, Napier[x].

References
NZ History Online
NZ BDM
Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files
Paperspast Online

Photo
ANZAC Cover April 1915 – Postcard
Private Hubert Warwick Bennett - 

[i]    Pencarrow Lighthouse Keepers: NZ History Online
[ii]   Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 10/1416 Private Hubert Warwick Bennett
[iii]  Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 5767 Corporal Signalman Leo Percy Bennett
[iv]  Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 10/1416 Private Hubert Warwick Bennett
[v]  Wounded at Malta 10/1416 Private Hubert Warwick Bennett: Dominion 18 May 1915.
[vi]  Happy Meeting: Evening Post 13 August 1915.
[vii]  NZ BDM
[viii] NZ BDM
[ix]  Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 10/1416 Private Hubert Warwick Bennett
[x]  Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 2/20/40 Private Hubert Warwick Bennett
ANZAC Cove April 1915 ​​