Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Bentley, Enoch Edward - Private (32643)

Pte Enoch E. Bentley
13th Battalion,
Essex Regiment,
Killed in Action 18th February 1917,
Age 37,
Buried Regina Trench Cemetery Grandcourt.

Enoch Bentley was born in Baxenden in 1879 and was the son of Joseph T. and Sarah Bentley. His father was a greengrocer at Acre. He was an old scholar of Stonefold Sunday School and a former choir boy. In 1901 Enoch lived at 1, New Pleasant Street, Acre with his parents and sister Mary J. He was 21 years of age and was employed as a cotton weaver. On 24 June 1908 Enoch married Nancy Barnes at St. John’s Church, Stonefold. He was a weaver at Nicholas Worsley’s Alliance Mill, Baxenden, prior to the outbreak of war. He joined up on 23 June 1916 and went to the front on 14 November of that year. On 18 February 1917 he was shot in the left side and died instantly. He was 37 years of age. At the time of his death his wife resided at 3, New Pleasant Street, Acre. Enoch Bentley is buried in Regina Trench Cemetery, Grandcourt, France.
A memorial service was held at Stonefold Church where “there was a large congregation. Suitable hymns were sung. Mr Fred Tattersall, the organist, played the voluntary “O rest in the Lord” and the “Dead March” at the close of the service. The Reverend B. S. Ainley, vicar, preached from the text “For we see through a glass darkly”. Haslingden Gazette 31 March 1917 
"On January 1917 the 13th Battalion Essex Regiment took over a sector of front line between the villages of Grandcourt and Miraumont. The front line merely consisted of a series of shell holes and mud so deep that often men had to be dug out or pulled out with ropes.
On 12 February 2nd Division, of which the 13th Essex Regiment were a part, was ordered to advance up the valley of the River Ancre with Grandcourt Trench as one of the objectives. The weather was extremely cold then a rapid thaw on 16 February made the going more difficult. (The most serious consequence of the changed conditions was that the artillery barrage lifts had been timed for infantry moving over frozen ground and were now too fast). Nevertheless, in the early hours of 18 February the 13th Essex Regiment formed up to attack. The Germans, however, were forewarned either by a prisoner or a deserter, and, at 4.30 am, opened up with a violent bombardment on the front of the attack. The battalion suffered many casualties but the assembly was completed on time.
In spite of the battalion pushing forward the Germans still held the height of Petit Miraumont, which commanded the area. A plan was devised to capture the height but because of the atrocious weather and ground conditions the project was abandoned.
During the attack, Pte. Bentley was shot in the left side and died instantly. He was one of many casualties of the Battalion that day". – From Bill Turner’s Book. 

Newspaper Report:

A memorial service for the late Private Enoch Bentley was held at Stonefold Church on Sunday night, Mr. F. Tattersall (organist) played "O Rest in the Lord" and "The Dead March." The vicar the Rev. B.S. Ainley) preached from the text, "For we see through a glass darkly." and in the course of an appropriate sermon he said the deceased was an old scholar and choir boy at Stonefold Church.

Newspaper Memorial:

In loving memory of Enoch E. Bentley, 13th Essex Regt. Killed in France, 1917.

"Friends may think that we forget him,
When at times they see us smile,
Little dreaming what grief is hidden,
Beneath the surface all the while."

From his Father and Mother, mr. and Mrs. Bentley, 1 New Pleasant Street, Acre.

Pte Enoch Edward Bentleay Census details - Click over census to enlarge