RICHARD CHARLES BENYON
Richard was the son of two natives of the Welsh border county of Montgomery – John Benyon (1835-1902) and Elizabeth Williams (1845-1924). The 1901 census reveals that eight members of the Benyon family were living in a three-roomed cottage in Berriew together with a boarder called Lawton Jones. Everybody in the household spoke English as his or her first language. By 1911, only the widowed Elizabeth, Richard and their boarder, who was now a “waggoner on a farm”, were still living in the cottage. Richard’s older siblings must have found work and accommodation elsewhere. Elizabeth reported that she had given birth to 12 children but that four of them had died. Richard was employed as a grocer’s assistant. Later that year, Richard married Amelia Evans (born in about 1890, possibly in Crewe) in Hyde near Manchester. The Soldiers Died in the Great War database implies that Richard was living in Liscard when he joined up, but the Birkenhead News asserted that his widow lived in Church Road in West Kirby and that he worked for George Watkins and Son, Family Grocers and Bakers of 22 Village Road, West Kirby. He seems to have travelled to Wrexham in order to join up.
Very sadly, the poor man had only been with his unit for two days when he was killed. Imagine how his commanding officer, Major Cyril Farmer, felt when he had to write to Richard’s parents. He clearly did not know Richard very well, so had tactfully to describe him as favourably as possible and to describe his resting place: “I am sure he would have been a valuable and efficient soldier if he had been spared. In the absence of a clergyman, I read the service and he was buried in the cemetery near us. I have made arrangements as regards a cross for him.” The latter point is interesting because Richard’s name is one of the 54,896 inscribed on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in Ypres. It is probable, therefore, that his grave was destroyed by subsequent fighting over the ground in which he was buried.
Birth: c.1889 in Berriew, Montgomeryshire
Death: 24th July 1917, killed in action
Addresses: Keel Cottage, Berriew (01-11); Liscard (?); Church Road, West Kirby (17)
Occupation: Grocer’s Assistant (11 – 17)
Unit: 83 Battery 3rd Brigade Royal Artillery.
Number and Rank: 189728 Gunner
Medals: Victory and British War
Commemorated and Buried: GH, WK, Belgium: Ypres, Menin Gate Panel 5 and 9
Sources: BR, CWGC, SDGW, MC, FT, BN, Census: 01, 11