Richmond WW1 Diary 15 October 1914

Image of poppy

Death of William Bennett, one of The Alberts dead

William Bennett was an Old Contemptible, a regular soldier who had been serving in the army at the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914. He held the rank of Private, in the 4th Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment, 3rd Division. Unmarried at the time of his death, William’s parents lived at 4 Beatrice Road, in The Alberts.

William was killed in action near La Bassée, northern France on 15 October 1914. He is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial in France.

The Old Contemptibles were the trained, experienced soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). They were recalled from their stations across the British Empire and sent to meet the advancing armies of the Central Powers in northern Europe. The legend has it that they earned their name when the German Kaiser, Wilhelm II, referred to the British soldiers as a ‘contemptible little army’, although there is little evidence for what might be a propaganda tale.

Unprepared for the huge numbers of the enemy and the new style of warfare (for example, the extensive use of machine guns), the BEF was all-but destroyed in the first months of the war, pushed back almost as far as Paris in the Retreat from Mons.

The Alberts, is a tightly-packed network of linked streets off Sheen Road, Richmond. One hundred years ago the 400 or so two-up-two-down cottages were home to 36 of the men from Richmond who died during the war, and their families.

One thought on “Richmond WW1 Diary 15 October 1914

  1. Pingback: Richmond WWI Diary 17 February 1915 | 1914-1918 Richmond at Home and at War

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