Following the ill-fated trench raid of the 14th February, repercussions abounded as to its failure. Captain C.C.S. Gibbs of 4th Suffolk, noted in his diary that just before Bennett and his men were due to set off on the raid that there was a slight change of plan.
"About dusk there had been a slight modifications of plans. A large half-caste looking fellow shoved his head in our HQ. He was the brigade trench mortar officer and specialised in shooting large bombs from near our front line into the enemy front line. He had been sent up to help the raid, he said, and had got an emplacement for his mortar or mortars at a certain point which he indicated. 'Can you be sure of reaching this point from there?' I said, indicating the spot where we were to enter the enemy trench. 'Yes, easily,' I wondered - I mistrusted the infernal machines. However, I sent the brigade officer up to 'B' Company HQ with a chit to Bennett and told him to discuss carefully with Bennett exactly what he was going to do"
Gibbs mistrust in the effectiveness of trench mortars seems to have been well-founded. He recalled of how he met the trench mortar office again some months later in the Ypres Salient; "I found this same cove hooking it from a Ypres battlefield when his services were most needed and he nearly got court marshalled. So I have little doubt that on this occasion he merely worked his machine regardless of where he was shooting. Bennett got half-way over then got one in the back from him."
Bennett was to succumb from his wounds received during the raid. He died the following day and is buried in Bray Military Cemetery. Soon 4th Suffolk would leave the Somme; a battlefield they had arrived upon seven months before. It had been hot then, cold, then in the past days, freezing, with men resorting to wearing white overalls when out on trench raids. Snow and ice were onto ground and the river was frozen. Soon they would move on for training, then onwards to another sector and another offensive. This might this one be successful?
Welcome to our online 'blog' charting the history of the many Battalions of the Suffolk Regiment and the part they played in the Great War.
Starting back in March 2014, we have recorded the events of 100 years ago on the centenary of their happening.
Keep checking back to see how the Great War is progressing for the men of the Suffolk Regiment.