J. W. Bennett
War dead Male Born 15/3/1902 Died 10/12/1941
CN Co. Mate Anshun. Andrew Behan has researched this man:
Chief Officer James William Bennett was born on 15 March 1902 in Darlington, County Durham, the son of James Ellis Bennett and Elizabeth Jane Bennett née English. His father was the Secretary of Dimsdale Wire Co. Ltd, and died on 23 February 1902, just three weeks before he was born. They were living at 58 Victoria Road, Darlington. His mother remarried two years later to the Reverend William Bowe, a Primitive Methodist Minister and the 1911 census shows the family living at 'Auburn', Elton Parade, Darlington. Having first gone to sea on 8 January 1919, after four years, on 22 March 1923, he obtained his Board of Trade Certificate of Competency as a Second Mate of a Foreign-going Steamship in the Merchant Service, giving his home address as 'Viga', Sylvan Grove, Darlington.
On 21 September 1926 he obtained his Board of Trade Certificate of Competency as a First Mate of a Foreign-going Steamship in the Merchant Service and joined the China Navigation Company Limited on 29 November 1926. He obtained his Masters Certificate in Hong Kong on 20 October 1928. On 2 January 1929 he was appointed as Second Mate and sailed on the Fatshan I, Kueichow, Kweiyang II and Szechuen II. On 9 June 1930 he sailed as First Mate on the Szechuen II and subsequently was employed as First Mate on the HupehI, Liangchow, Shengking II, Wanhsien, Kanchow and Wantung.
His son, Gordon Ellis Bennett, was born on 28 November 1931 in Shanghai, China. He was allowed Home Leave from 21 March 1932 to 25 November 1932. Both he and his son are recorded as having travelled aboard the P & O Steamship Rajputana from Yokohama, Japan, arriving in London on 29 April 1932 to live at 'Viga' Pierremont Gardens, Darlington. On his return he sailed as Second Mate on the Hunan II and then as First Mate on the Nanning II, Hunan II, Szechuen II Nanchang II, Wanhsien, Wuhu III and Wuchang II before proceeding on Home Leave 25 November 1937. At some stage he became a widower as there is a marriage certificate showing that as a widower and a Mercantile Marine Officer he married Mary Elizabeth Nettle, a stenographer, on 22 July 1935 at 220 Route Ferguson, Xuhui District of Shanghai, China. (Route Ferguson has now been renamed as Wukang Road). The family consisted of both a son and a daughter. The son, Gordon Ellis Bennett, was later to became the Master of several ships belonging to the China Navigation Company Limited.
On 6 July 1938 he returned from Home Leave and was appointed First Mate on the Kiangsu and then the Yunnan III. On 23 January 1941 he was appointed as the First Mate, or Chief Officer, of the M.V. Anshun (London), a 3,188 gross registered tonnage ship and was killed, aged 39 years, on 10 December 1941 when it was bombed by Japanese aircraft at Manila, Philippines. His son had been travelling with him as a passenger on the ship and was left at Manila in the care of the International Red Cross. At the time of his death his home address was 11 Hennessey Avenue, Elmwood S.3., Melbourne, Australia. His widow moved shortly after his death to 101 Spray Street, Melbourne. As he has no known grave, he is commemorated on Panel 9 of the Mercantile Marine Memorial at Tower Hill. As an employee of the China Navigation Company Limited he was also commemorated on the plaque at Swire House, 59 Buckingham Gate, Westminster.