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Looking for my Great Great Granddad...

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Looking for my Great Great Granddad...

Postby Canada Bob » Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:55 pm


Just watched the movie 1917, it brought it home to me what soldiers (on both sides) went through in WWI, and what my Great Great Grandfather Gunner Benjamin Bennison, of the Royal Garrison Artillery service number 200397 would have lived through.

My family have lived in Canada for a couple of generations ago, so it's difficult to find out much about Ben, but I do have his Victory Medal,it's been passed down to me by one generation after another. As a sign of respect to Ben every male born through those generations has been given his name, including me, I carry it with pride.

I knew that Ben had served in WWI and I kind of knew they saw some awful things, but the movie gave me a better idea of how hellish, and then some, it was.

The most treasured things that I have is Ben's Victory medal with his name and number on the rim, a little silver match case, a gold locket with pictures of Ben and his Wife (Maud) and a little ivory hand carved dice that belonged to Ben.

I'd really appreciate it if anyone could shed some light on what campaigns Ben would have been on, it's my intention that Ben will never be forgotten in our family.

Thanks for your time and consideration.


Nova Scotia, Canada.
Canada Bob
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Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:32 pm

Re: Looking for my Great Great Granddad...

Postby MaureenE » Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:02 am

On Ancestry, there are two records I noticed, one for a Medal Index Card, which didn't have much information, additional to what you have, except to indicate he also received a British War Medal, the other for the medal roll, whose Ancestry link (accessible if you are signed in to Ancestry) is ... 1579839235
This latter record indicated he was in 13 Heavy Battery RGA

This link form the Long Long Trail indicates 13 Heavy Battery went to France, 2 June 1915 and later to Salonika. ... artillery/ ... p?pid=9269 has more detailed information about the 13th Heavy Battery, (but I can't copy it), most of it in Salonica.

For more information about this theatre of war, see the FIBIS Fibiwiki page Salonica and the Balkans (First World War) ... _World_War)

You could also try the Great War Forum, as there may be people with specific Artillery knowledge.

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Re: Looking for my Great Great Granddad...

Postby Canada Bob » Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:29 pm

THANKS Maureen for taking the time to respond, I really appreciate it, I'll follow the links to see what turns up. My son did a but more research on the lineage and found another Ben who sadly died age 86 just a few weeks ago, I wish I'd started my search earlier now to have touched base with him.

Looks like this Ben had a bit of History too, from what I was told as a kiddie by my grandma Maud, WWI Ben's daughter, this Bennie as he preferred to be called was "a bit of a character" too in his day.

As a sign of respect every male born into the family since WWI Ben, carried his name, something that I carry with pride. In our branch of the family tree I was the first male to carry that tradition on, from my mother, to grandma then back to WWI Ben, but on other branches of the Bennison family tree there's been two other Ben Bennison's, my grandma's brother, I remember him well when I was a youngster, he passed the name on to his son "Bennie" the one who died 4th December 2019, so it looks like I'm the last Ben standing.

It gets a bit confusing talking about generations of folks when they all have the same name ;-)

This grandson of WWI Ben was a Mining Surveyor in the 1960's, you didn't get a better job that that in Wigan in those days, but, what does he do, he chucks the job to work for the BBC on "Vision On" a program for children. THEN, he moves on to become a Choreographer, {no one in Wigan knew what the hell a choreographer was in those days}, at the Moulin Rouge !!! When they found out he was a dancer eyebrows were raised to say the least amongst his coal mining friends ;-) visions of Billy Elliot no doubt "in the day".

Bennie he preferred Bennie to Ben, {that caused even more consternation}, but, surprise surprise, he got married to one of the Show Girls at the Moulin Rouge,what a sigh of relief that was, back then, more so when not long after "Bennie" sired twin girls with her. The last I'd heard {over 30 years ago} Bennie was back working for the BBC and they'd moved to Bristol.

I found an obituary for Bennie on "thestage co uk" web site, a nice little overview of his life in theatre. Add to that Bennie has a couple of books for sale on Amazon co uk.

Apologies for not being able to post the links, seems that "as a new user" I can't post direct links :-(

So that's a potted history of WWI Ben Bennison's lineage.

Odd how the name got changed along the way, from Bennison to Benison, now sure how/why that happened, I guess that can throw a spanner in the works when folks are trying to trace family.

I dug out Ben's Victory Medal, my grandma passed it on to me, along with another medal, a fishing medal that Ben won in 1919, he won the Norther Anglers Association medal that year. What a change in Ben's life to be "manning the guns" in WWI then winning a Gold Medal for fishing less than a year after the war ended.

I also inherited {and treasure} a little silver matchbox that he had during WWI, to keep his "Bryant & May's" dry, that and a little hand carved ivory dice, and a little gold locker that was my grandma's with a photo of her and her husband Bill Calland a really nice old guy that I remember well.

Bill used to take me to watch him play crown green bowls, on the same greens that George Orwell had played on. Sadly Billy died from silicosis {coal dust on his lungs}, when I was about 9 years old, I remember that sad day and the impact of it well.

Bill got me interested in bowling and I play it to this day, >60 years later, when I step on a green before I send a bowl I dedicate the game to my respect and regard to Billy Calland.

I often wonder what "Bill & Ben" {yea, I know} would have made of the lives we live these days.
I would give anything to have been able to bring them back if just for a day to buy them a few pints and have a chat with them. Although they are dead and gone it's good to know that I carry 12.5% of Ben's DNA and 25% of Bills DNA, that and the treasured trinkets that have been passed down to me...

So I'm the last of the line, the last Ben standing, and at my age I'm already running on empty.

Thanks again Maureen for the links, I'll see what I can find on them.

Bob {second name Benjamin}.
Canada Bob
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Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:32 pm

Re: Looking for my Great Great Granddad...

Postby Sucher » Fri Jan 24, 2020 8:55 pm

See my recent thread about Bombardier Ernest Hilton and in particular the link

I have no connection with this company other than as a satisfied customer.

Good Luck

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Re: Looking for my Great Great Granddad...

Postby Canada Bob » Fri Jan 24, 2020 9:57 pm

Thanks for the link Sucher, appreciated...
Canada Bob
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:32 pm

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