Bennett, George (1892-1920)
Sherborne School, UK, Book of Remembrance for former pupils who have lost their lives in the service of their country, 1919-1939 and 1946 to date.
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Credit: Sherborne School Archives, Abbey Road, Sherborne, Dorset, UK, DT9 3AP.
Details: George Bennett, born 23 August 1892 at Batavia, Jakarta, son of James W. Bennett and Maria Bennett, Harwood, Lindsey Road, Branksome Park, Bournemouth.
Attended Hailey School, Bournemouth.
Attended Sherborne School (School House), September 1906-July 1911; 6th form; School Prefect; Head of School; Digby Mathematics & Science Prize (1910).
Appears as 'Scott' in A.R. Waugh's semi-autobiographical novel about Sherborne School, 'The Loom of Youth' (1917) oldshirburnian.org.uk/the-characters-in-the-loom-of-youth...
Attended Magdalen College, Oxford (Demy).
WW1, Captain Intelligence Corps (GHQ Staff, France); formerly in Royal Army Service Corps; mentioned in despatches.
Lieutenant, Special List. Killed by the IRA on 21 November 1920 at 38 Upper Mount Street, Dublin.
CWGC grave at Kensal Green (St Mary's Roman Catholic Cemetery).
Sherborne School: Book of Remembrance; no.84 Memorial Pew in the School Chapel.
Obituary, The Shirburnian, December 1920, pp.347-349:
George Bennett, who was one of the British officers murdered in Dublin on Sunday, November 21st, was born on August 23rd, 1892, the son of the late Mr. J. Bennett of Bournemouth. He came to School House in September, 1906, and was Head of the School during his last year, going up to Magdalen College, Oxford, in October, 1911, with a Science Demyship. He was a remarkable boy, incapacitated for games by a partially withered arm, but absolutely fearless, and ruling his equals and juniors with a blend of determination, coolness, and good fellowship far more effective than the use of the cane; - though he did not shrink from caning a prominent member of the cricket eleven for the breach of a School rule. Another notable thing that he did as a boy was to read a paper on Kant to the Duffers, a paper shewing a first-hand acquaintance with the Critique of Pure Reason, and written in a wonderfully mature style. Altogether he was something of a mystery to the boys and perhaps to some of the masters; but he was universally respected and in the School House much liked; he spared no pains in helping the younger boys with their work, not in the foolish way of saving them trouble, but shewing them how to attack their difficulties intelligently, and he did a great deal to break down a very undesirable division that there was at the time between the votaries of the intellectual and those of the athletic life.
His Oxford career was a disappointment both to his friends and to himself. Mathematical Moderations failed to satisfy his aspirations and he followed several false tracks, intellectual and aesthetic. He finally however took a degree in Law, and subsequently through an introduction to Lord Milner was started on a business career. When the war came he was repeatedly rejected for military service, and at first went to Egypt on business connected with the war. On his return he managed to enlist as a motor driver in the A.S.C. He subsequently obtained a Commission, serving in France and being mentioned in despatches. Finally he was transferred to the staff and sent on intelligence service to Holland, where with his colleagues he did very valuable work at great personal risk. At the end of the war he was feeling his way into business again when he was invited to rejoin the Intelligence Department for service in Ireland. He had for some time been a Roman Catholic, and like his brother officer Lieut. Aimes, in whose room he was murdered, while a loyal servant of the Crown, was a supporter of the policy of Home Rule for Ireland.
The official account of his death, as read out in the House of Commons, is as follows:
‘At 13, Upper Mount-street, 20 armed men were let in by a servant, and went to the bedroom of Lieut. Aimes, of the Grenadier Guards, and Lieut. Bennett, R.A.S.C. The servant rushed upstairs and told and officer sleeping on the upper floor that murder was being done. A fusillade of shots was heard. They came down and found the two bodies in pools of blood in Lieut. Aimes’s bedroom. Mr Bennett had been dragged into his brother officer’s room, and they were shot together. Their bodies lay side by side.’
His early and tragic death cut short a career which was full of promise of distinction. Self-willed and opiniative, with a touch of bravado and perhaps more than a touch of quixotry, he was very sensitive and affectionate: and some of us will long remember the last visit which he paid to Sherborne at the end of last Christmas term and his warm interest in the welfare of his old School.
Nowell Charles Smith (Headmaster of Sherborne School, 1909-1927)