Arthur Louis Bennell came from a Colchester family, joined the army before the war, arrived in France in the first weeks of the war, and died from wounds received in November 1917. He is thought to have lodged in Belle Vue.

Arthur was born in Colchester in 1890, the son of Edwin Joseph Bennell and Rosina Bennell. (nee Burr). His father had been born in 1856; his mother in 1859, both in Colchester. The couple had married in 1877 and four years later had been resident in Barrack Street, Colchester.

Arthur’s siblings, all Colchester-born, were: Rosina Bennell (1879-1934),  Alfred Arthur Bennell (1880-1944), Percy Edwin. Bennell (1882-1951), Grace Edith Bennell (born 1884), Ernest George Bennell (born 1886), Alice May Bennell (1888-1980), and Eva Hilda Bennell (1893-1976).

The 1891 census found one year-old Arthur, his parents and six siblings at 22 Victor Road in Colchester. His father was a machinist (iron turner) and his mother, a tailoress. In 1901 the census recorded 11 year-old Arthur with his parents and six siblings at 14 Priory Street in Colchester. Arthur’s parents remained in the occupations of a decade later.

Within the ten years after the 1901 census Arthur is believed to have joined the army, enlisting in Cambridge, while resident at Chelmsford.

He served as Private 8818 in the 2nd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment, a regular army unit, which was based at Aldershot, Hampshire at the outbreak of the war. As part of the 2nd Division it landed at  Boulogne, France in August 1914. Arthur’s medal card gives him a date of arrival in France of 30th August 1914. The battalion saw action at the Battle of Mons.


Private, 2nd Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment

Arthur died from wounds on 23rd November 1914. He was aged 24. He is buried at Hazebrouck Communal Cemetery, Nord, France (grave: III. A. 8). The cemetery, some 56 kilometres south-east of Calais, served casualty clearing stations in the town of Hazebrouck.

On 23rd November 1917 the Essex County Chronicle published the following in memoriam notice:

Arthur is commemorated on the Civic Centre Memorial, Chelmsford. He was entitled to the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, and Victory Medal.

The 1915 and 1918 register of electors listed Hannah Sarah Everett living at 2 Belle Vue. It is suspected that Arthur lodged with her.