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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Gunner AF Bennett killed in Bombardment of Scarborough



Having visited the Heugh Battery in Hartlepool a number of times I was well aware of the circumstances of the Bombardment on December 1914, as well as shelling along the East Coast at Scarborough and Whitby. A tablet near the Heugh Battery records the death of the first soldier killed on British soil, Private Theopolis Jones of the 18th Battalion DLI.  Amongst the 8 servicemen killed were Gunners Houston and Spence of the Durham Royal Garrison Artillery. I visited the graves of Houston and Spence a number of years ago,

Northumbrian Gunner: Hartlepool


Coming across a post started by ss002d6252  regarding a casualty from the bombardment of Scarborough, it challenged whether Theopolis Jones was the first soldier killed on British soil,  and consequently Gunners Houston and Spence may not be the first Artillerymen killed on British Soil. 

Man missing from CWGC -1st soldier killed on British soil ? - Page 2 - Soldiers and their units - Great War Forum


See the source image







Albert Featherstone Bennet  was one of four people killed when a German shell hit 2 Wykeham Street, Scarborough. [1]



Source: ss002d6252 [1]


An eyewitness account recalled the "The shell came flying straight over the railway bridge," she said. "It smashed a lot of windows in Gladstone Road School and went clean through Mrs Bennett's house. The place was blown up and things went flying in all directions." [2]


The Scarborough Mercury reported "Two people died at hospital - Albert Bennett who was from Wykeham Street and JP Hall." [3]


Scarborough (2).jpg

Source: GWF1967 [4]



Posters were published in 1914 encouraging men to enlist after the  bombardment of northern towns Scarborough, Whitby and Hartlepool


Research from ss002d6252 revealed that Albert Featherstone Bennett was a driver with the Northing Riding Battery ,the third battery of the 2nd Northumbrian Brigade Royal Field Artillery. [5] Prior to World War One he was an employee of the North Eastern Railway. [6]



Source: ss002d6252 [5]



Source: ss002d6252 [7] 


From the records it looks like Albert Featherstone was working for the North Eastern Railway [6] when he was embodied on 7th August 1914 in Hull [4] ,the Headquarters of the 2nd Northumbrian Brigade Royal Field Artillery. On the 16th December, he was in 2 Wykeham Street, Scarborough when it was hit by a German shell [1], and died in hospital as a result of his injuries [3].



Horse-drawn hearses for the funeral of Driver Albert Featherstone Bennett of the North Riding Battery, RFA [8]


Albert Bennett is commemorated on the Scarborough War Memorial located on Oliver's Mount where the name plaques list him twice; as a civilian killed during the Bombardment and with those who served in the Navy / Army / Air force [9].




image.png.7c12becde14f6c6f730682239cba1d88.png image.png.3d154904eeb8a38390bbcd8f7c74401a.png


Scarborough Mount Oliver War Memorial


He is also commemorated on the WW1 Bombardment of Scarborough Cairn [10] situated at the Dean Wood Wood / Manor Road Cemetery where he is buried alongside his mother Johanna, who was one of the four people who lost their lives at 2 Wykeham Street. The cairn was commissioned to commemorate the centenary of the Bombardment.






Albert Bennett was not recorded by the Imperial War Commission after the First World War. As a result of the research by ss002d6252  and assisted by chrisharley9, Albert Bennett was Brought In From the Cold, and is now commemorated by CWGC.





Service Number: 1290
Regiment & Unit/Ship

Royal Field Artillery

North Riding Bty.

Date of Death

Died 16 December 1914

Age 22 years old

Buried or commemorated at


Section D. Grave 24

United Kingdom


Albert Featherstone Bennett (1892-1914) - Find A Grave Memorial


Albert Featherstone Bennett



[1] Newspaper Article

[2] Black day in history for Scarborough | York Press

[3] Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre | Mercury account of bombardment (scarboroughsmaritimeheritage.org.uk)

[4] "Illustrated Memorial of the East Coast Raids by the German Navy and Airships, By Hood & Co. Ltd. St. Bride Works. Middlesbrough. 1915.

[5] Service Record

[6] RobL  https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/191475-man-missing-from-cwgc-1st-soldier-killed-on-british-soil/?do=findComment&comment=1886975

[7] Newspaper Article

[8] Imperial War Museum Catalogue number Q 53461

[9] People of Scarborough - War Memorials Online

[10] WWI Bombardment of Scarborough Cairn - War Memorials Online

Edited by ianjonesncl


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