Francis Robert Bennion

Royal Navy

Personal Details

Born:  16 August 1897 and baptised on 15 September 1897 in the Primitive Methodists’ Chapel, Idle, Yorkshire.

Family:  He was the youngest of five children born to William Bennion, a Primitive Methodist Minister, and his wife Kate (nee Gwillim). He had a sister Kathleen and a brother Walter James. His twin brothers Randle and William Henry were born and died in 1894. No marriage can be found for Francis.

Residence:  On the 1901 Census the family were living at 9 Cambridge Terrace, Otley, Yorkshire. By 1911 the family had moved to 73 Hall Street, Burslem, Staffordshire. On the Spring 1919 Absent Voters List his address was given as 11 Edgeley Road, Whitchurch, Shropshire. At the time of his death, he was residing at 2 Hollingsworth Court, Lovelace Gardens, Surbiton, Surrey.

Employment: On the British Postal Service Appointment Book, 1913, there is a Francis R. Bennion employed as a boy clerk. Francis was described as a civil servant in 1952 on the National Probate Register entry for his brother Walter James.

Died:  19 March 1981 in Surbiton, Surrey, aged 83.

Other information: The address of 11 Edgeley Road was the home of the incumbent Primitive Methodist Minister for Whitchurch in the 1901 and 1911 Censuses. It is presumed, therefore, that Francis’s father William Bennion was the Primitive Methodist Minister for the town in 1919.

Military Details

Regiment: Royal Navy

Rank: Able Seaman

Service Number: J63210

Date of Enlistment:  15 November 1916 ?

Date of Discharge:  17 February 1919 ?

Reason for Discharge: Demobilized

Other Information: Francis’s brother Walter James Bennion was an acting corporal in the Royal Engineers. His number was 187510.

Medals and Awards

Francis was awarded the Campaign Medals (British War Medal, and Victory Medal).

Campaign Medals

Great War History Hub Whitchurch Shropshire Medals Front Image

The British War Medal (also known as 'Squeak') was a silver or bronze medal awarded to officers and men of the British and Imperial Forces who either entered a theatre of war or entered service overseas between 5th August 1914 and 11th November 1918 inclusive. This was later extended to services in Russia, Siberia and some other areas in 1919 and 1920. Approximately 6.5 million British War Medals were issued. Approximately 6.4 million of these were the silver versions of this medal. Around 110,000 of a bronze version were issued mainly to Chinese, Maltese and Indian Labour Corps. The front (obv or obverse) of the medal depicts the head of George V. The recipient's service number, rank, name and unit was impressed on the rim.

The Allied Victory Medal (also known as 'Wilfred') was issued by each of the allies. It was decided that each of the allies should each issue their own bronze victory medal with a similar design, similar equivalent wording and identical ribbon. The British medal was designed by W. McMillan. The front depicts a winged classical figure representing victory. Approximately 5.7 million victory medals were issued. Interestingly, eligibility for this medal was more restrictive and not everyone who received the British War Medal ('Squeak') also received the Victory Medal ('Wilfred'). However, in general, all recipients of 'Wilfred' also received 'Squeak' and all recipients of The 1914 Star or The 1914/1915 Star (also known as 'Pip') also received both 'Squeak' and 'Wilfred'. The recipient's service number, rank, name and unit was impressed on the rim.

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