Isaac BENTON (1889-1952)

9th Infantry Brigade AIF

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Isaac Benton

35th BATTALION  3rd PIONEER BATTALION A.I.F.

Private: 35A Isaac BENTON.


Born: 1881. Stafford, England.

Married:

Wife: nee:.

Died: 5th August 1952. Charlestown, New South Wales, Australia. Death Cert:23223/1952.


Father: Richard Benton.

Mother: Emma Benton. nee:


INFORMATION

Isaac Benton enlisted with the AIF on the 29th December 1915 and was allocated to A Company 35th Battalion when it was raised in January 1916, where he became an original member of the Battalion. Isaac embarked with the 35th Battalion from Sydney onboard HMAT A24 "Benalla" on the 12th May 1916 and disembarked at Plymouth England on the 9th July 1916.

HMAT A24 Benalla

HMAT A24 "BENALLA"

Here the Battalion entrained during the afternoon for Amesbury, arriving at midnight and marching to hutments at Larkhill. Here the Battalion settled down to hard training, which included Route Marching, Trench Digging, Bomb Practice, Musketry and general Camp Routine. The Battalion left Larkhill on the 21st November and entrained at Amesbury for Southampton, embarking on the S.S "Arundel". The transport section left by S.S. "Princess Victoria". The Battalion arrived at Le Harve, France on the 22nd November 1916. Disembarkation commenced at 8:00am and the Battalion marched to No;1 camp on the Hill, arriving at 2:00pm. The men carried heavy loads, in some cases amounting to miniature Q.M.' Stores. The march over cobblestones was very tiring, notwithstanding the many route marches which had been carried out at Larkhill. However, after bathing their feet and receiving treatment, as well partaking of a good meal, some spent a comfortable night.

Isaac was marched out and Taken on in Strength with the 35th Battalion in the field on the 18th November and was transfered the same day to the 3rd Pioneer Battalion.

7th June 1917.

THE BATTLE OF MESSINES

The 3rd Australian Divisions first major offencive was at Messines Ridge on the 7th June 1917. The Australian 3rd Division was a part of the II Anzac Corps which was allotted to the first assault. The 25th New Zealand, 3rd Australian Division with the 4th Australian Division in reserve. The 4th Division were battle hardened troops who had fought many major battles.The 3rd Australian Division were having problems getting to the "jump off" point. The day before the 9th and 10th Infantry Brigades were bombarded by German Gas-Shells around Hill 63 and Plugstreet Wood. Many of the Aussies were not wearing gas masks, but dispite this they pressed on even though they received 500 casulties.

They made it to the "jump off" point but only just with some of the men from the 9th and 10th going straight over the top without stopping. The mines went up and the attack commenced behind a protective barrage. The II Anzac Corps were attacking on the right with their objective being the southern shoulder of the ridge which included Messines, the Dover and St Yves areas as far south to the east of Plugstreet Wood.

Major General Sir John MONASH's 3rd Division had to contend with a tricky 3 mile approach out of Plugstreet Wood and after the German gas attack, but they were not detered. The 9th Infantry Brigade under Brigadier General: Alexander JOBSON and the 10th Infantry Brigade under Brigadier General W R NICHOLL had just made the jumping off point but some of the men did not stop, going straight into the assault from the approach march.

Their objective lay between St Yves and the Douve. The mines at Trench 127 and Trench 12 at Factory Farm were laid to aid this task. The explosions erupted a few seconds before zero hour and created craters of 200 feet in diameter, completely obliterating the German defence line as the 9th and 10th Infantry Brigades went over the top. The mine crates forced the 9th and 10th Brigades to veer to the left and right which caused some confusion with the main assault. It is testimony to the quality of training that every man knew the ground, tasks and objectives so well.

Private: 1804 John CARROLL 33rd Battalion, rushed the enemy's trench and bayoneted four of the German occupants. He then noticed a comrade in difficulties and went to his assistance, killing another German. He then attacked single handed a German Machine Gun Team, killing all three of them and capturing the gun. He later rescued two of his comraded who had been buried alive by German Shell Fire, and in spite of heavy shelling and machine gun fire he dug them out alive and saved them from certain death. John was awarded the Victoria Cross.

The German foward zone was completely engulfed and taken by the main assault. The two supporting battalions of each brigade then passed the leading battalion to continue the advance. The men were constantly re-supplied and the ridge was taken. There were many German prisoners taken during the offencive. The 3rd Division was well ahead with the 9th Infantry Brigade pushing on beyond Grey Farm, and on the right the 10th Infantry Brigade were veering left towards Septieme Barn north of Douve.

The German resistance was heavy but was generally brushed aside by tanks and artillery before the infantry had to become too involved.The 4th Bavarian Divisions Artillery had made little impact, but as the day wore on the 3rd Division and later the 4th Australian Division received many casulties from German artillery. (70% of all casulties during WW1 were from artillery).

By 9:00am nearly 6 hours after the assault began the Germans were in dissaray, but there was a major problem as the Australians received less casulties as anticipated and when ordered to dig into the ridge they had so many men, that some could not find shelter. the 35th battalion were dug in around Seaforth Farm.

The second phase of the operation was to take the Oosttaverne Line. The 3rd Australian Division would now be in reserve with the 4th Division attacking. The 9th Infantry Brigade (33-34-35-36Bn) were near Thatched Cottage facing Warneton. The river Lys was to their right and the Plugstreet Wood was now behind them.

Once their objectives were taken the troops consolidated. A barrarge to stop and counter attack was shortnened and caught three battalions which had to retire. By 9:00pm this part of the Oosttaverne Line was abandonded. At 10:45pm General Godley ordered the 3rd and 4th Divisions to retake it. This they did by the early hours of the 8th of June.

Dressing Station, Messines

FIELD DRESSING STATION, MESSINES 7th June 1917.

Abermain War Memorial

ABERMAIN WAR MEMORIAL

Family Information

Isaac was a single 34 year old Miner from Abermain, N.S.W upon enlistment. His mother Emma was listed as his Next of Kin who lived at Staford Road, New Wallsend, Staffordshire, England. Isaac was buried at the Sandgate Cemetery in an Unmarked Grave until February 2015 when Jennifer and Wal Ryba, with the help of Gary Mitchell for the Sandgate Cemetery Project, erected a Grave Maker to Isacc Benton.

 

Isaac was buried 8th August 1952 at the Sandgate Cemetery. Anglican Section 3, Section 187 Lot 37. (Photo's Gary Mitchell) Sandgate Cemetery Project

7th August 1952.

Newcastle Morning Herald.

Man dies in gutter.

Hi David

Thank you very much indeed for doing the profile on Isaac. I am attaching a photo which I am sure is of him as I found it in my mother’s photo album. I think that what you are doing is an amazing thing and these men certainly deserve the recognition that most of them did not receive. You may be interested to know that my grandfather was an Undermanager at Abermain – they lived in Charles street , so I guess it would of been the colliery nearest to there! I am assuming that both brothers probably could of even known Clarence Jeffries, the mine surveyor who joined and won the Victoria cross. Small world. I have posted a letter to DVA so will wait and see now what comes from that in regard to getting eventually a memorial headstone.

Best wishes.

Jennifer Ryba (February 2015) Great Niece of Isaac Benton.

Military Records

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Under Construction; 28/01/2015-20/09/2016.

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