|Bennett||William||Colonel||BENNETT, WILLIAM, Colonel, was born 15 November 1835, at Athlone, Ireland, eldest son of Captain Thomas Bennett, 14th Hussars, and of Winifred Bennett, daughter of N Keatinge. He was educated at private schools, and joined the 1st Battalion 19th Foot in India, as Ensign, in 1858, the battalion in which he afterwards served for 32 years. Shortly afterwards he passed in Hindustani, and was appointed Regimental Interpreter. In 1862 he obtained a first-class certificate at the School of Musketry, Hythe, and held the appointment of Instructor of Musketry to the 3rd Depot Battalion at Chatham, and afterwards to his regiment. He took part in the Hazara Campaign, North-West Frontier of India, including the expedition against the Black Mountain Tribes, 1868 (Medal with clasp). He married, in 1869, Belinda, daughter of William Rosher, of Woodfield, Northfleet, Kent. He was promoted Captain in 1871, and in July 1877, returned to Hythe as Captain Instructor at the school, and was appointed DAAG for Musketry at Aldershot 1 March 1878, remaining in that position until, on getting his majority in 1881, he rejoined the Yorkshire Regt, at Halifax, Nova Scotia. When on the Staff at Aldershot, he founded in 1878 the Annual Aldershot Rifle Meeting. Colonel Bennett always took a keen interest in shooting, being himself one of the best shots in the Army, and the winner of many important trophies in the matches of the Northern Indian Rifle Association, as well as a successful big game shot in Kashmir. An instance of his fine marksmanship in target-shooting was witnessed one day on the rifle range when, as Regimental Musketry Instructor, he was endeavouring to train a batch of third-class shots to make the best of the very inferior Lee-Enfield rifles which were at that time issued to the battalions in India. One of the men, after several tries, failed altogether to get a single shot on the target. "How is it, Private Atkins, that you are shooting so badly?" inquired the instructor. "Well, sir", said the man, "I think this 'ere rifle is a very bad one; I can't make nothing of it". Captain Bennett took the rifle from the man with his right hand only, put it to his shoulder, and without touching it at all with his other hand, aimed at the target, and immediately made a bull's-eye. "I do not think there is much fault to be found with that rifle", he remarked to the greatly surprised Mr Atkins. After much 'testing', those rifles were ultimately changed for a superior make, with the result that the shooting of the regiment was so good the next year (1871) as to draw forth the following favourable remarks from the Commander-in-Chief in India: "The shooting is excellent, and evinces a degree of care in the performance of the annual course of musketry which is very creditable to the battalion. The exertions of the Officer Instructors, Captain Bennett and Lieutenant Emerson, have been reported to His Excellency as being worthy of special commendation, an expression of which Lord Napier of Magdala accordingly desires may be communicated to those officers". As Major he served in the Nile Expedition of 1884-5 (Medal and clasp; Bronze Star); was promoted Lieutenant Colonel in 1885; served in the Sudan, 1885-6. He commanded the 1st Battalion Yorkshire Regiment in the action of Ginniss; was created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order [London Gazette, 26 November 1886]: "For action at Ginniss, William Bennett, Colonel, Yorkshire Regiment". Mentioned in Despatches. He retired as full Colonel in 1890, After 22 years on the retired list, during which time, being very fond of travelling, Colonel Bennett visited the Holy Land and many parts of Europe and North Africa, he died of pneumonia and heart failure on 2 August 1912, at Whitby, Yorkshire, aged 76.|
DSO (gold), IGS 1854 (1) NWF (Lt 1st Btn HM's 19th Regt), Egypt (1) The Nile 1884-5 (Lt Col 1st Yorks Regt), Khedive Star. DNW Sep 00 £4,500.
Source: DSO recipients (VC and DSO Book)
|(Princess of Wales's Own) Yorkshire Regiment|