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  • Panel on war memorial, Mansfield Woodhouse Yeoman Memorial Park (Bennison). Photograph Rachel Farrand.
Person Details
Staveley, Derbyshire.
ALSO BENNISON James was the youngest child of George and Mary Ann Benison nee Clifford. George was born in Staveley, Derbyshire, in about 1851, the son of Luke Benison, while Mary Ann Clifford, the daughter of William and Hannah Clifford, was born in Barrow Hill, Chesterfield, in about 1854. They were married on 13 April 1873 in Staveley. According to the 1911 Census which was completed by Mary Ann, they had ten children who all survived: John Thomas b. 1874 (J/A/S Chesterfield) bap. 1875 (Staveley), Julia b. abt 1877 bap. 3 March 1892 (Staveley), Hannah birth registered 1881 (J/F/M Chesterfield), Joseph b. 1882 (J/A/S Chesterfield) bap. 17 March 1883 (Whaley Thorns), Mary b, 1883 (O/N/D Chesterfield) bap. 5 May 1889 (Staveley), George Henry bap. 5 May 1889 (Staveley), Harriet b. 1887 (O/N/D Chesterfield) bap. 3 March 1892 (Staveley), William b. 1889 (J/A/S Chesterfield) bap. 3 March 1893 (Staveley), Frank birth registered 1892 (J/F/M Chesterfield) bap. 3 March 1892 (Staveley) and James b. 1893 (J/A/S Chesterfield). The children's places of birth vary slightly on the census returns but they are likely to have been: John, William and Frank - Barrow Hill, Chesterfield; Julia - Hucknall; Hannah, Joseph and Mary - Langwith; George and Harriet - Seymour, Staveley; James - Staveley. In 1881 George (31) a coal miner, and Mary (25) were living with Mary's parents, William and Hannah Clifford in Bolsover, with their three children, John (7), Julia (4) and Hannah (3 months). By 1892 George and Mary were living at 104, 4th Row, Staveley, with their eight children; John (16) a labourer at a colliery, Julia (13), Hannah (10), Joseph (9), Mary (8), George (6), Harriett (4) and William (1). Also in the household was Henry Clifford (24), Mary's brother, who was described as a lodger. The two youngest boys, Frank and James, were born in 1892 and 1893 respectively. George senior died in 1894 (death registered J/F/M Chesterfield) aged about 43 and by the time of the next census in 1901 his widow was living at 110 South Street, Whittington, Derbyshire. All ten children were listed in the household on the night of the census: John (26) a bricklayer, Julia (23), Hannah (20), Joseph (18), Mary (17), George (15), Harriet (13), William (12), Frank (10) and James (8). However, at least two of the children, Hannah and Harriet, have been found on other census returns for the same year: Hannah at 2 Westgate Colonnade, Bradford, as a general servant in the household of Job and Nannie Rhodes, and Harriet (13) at Station Road, Bolsover, in the home of her uncle, Thomas Clifford and his wife Mary. It is also likely that Mary's two oldest children, John and Julia, who were both now married had also left home. John had married in 1900 (O/N/D Mansfield) and Julia had married Albert Harling the same year (St Stephen's church, West Bowling, 11 August 1900, J/A/S Bradford Yorkshire West Riding). Mary also declared another child in the home on the night of the census; Myra Benison (1, birth registered 1900 J/F/M Chesterfield), who was described as her daughter although on the 1911 Census Myra, then 11 years old, was described as Mary's grandchild. Hannah married Thomas Binns at the end of 1901 (O/N/D Bradford, Yorkshire West Riding). By 1911 Mary was living at 131 High Street, New Whittington, Chesterfield. Only three of her children were in the home on the night of the census; William (21) a rope man below ground, and Frank (20) and James (17) who were both pony drivers below ground. Mary's granddaughter, Myra (11) was also in the house. Another daughter, Mary (27) was living at 14 Queen Street, Warsop, where she was housekeeper to the widowed William Mortiboy, a collier, and his five children, while the eldest daughter Julia (33) and her husband Albert Harling (31) were living at 16 Queen Street, Warsop, with their five children; George Albert (9), Annie (7), William (5), Myra (2) and Henry (7 months). Also living with Julia and Albert was Julia's brother, George Henry (25), a coal miner, who was described as a boarder. Mary Ann Benison died in 1914 (J/F/M Chesterfield), she was about 58 years old. James' older brother George (28206 Private) was killed in action on 23 April 1916 while serving with the 17th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension). Another brother, Frank, attested in the Leicestershire Regiment (14274) on 3 September 1914 although by the time he was discharged on 1 April 1919 he was serving in the Royal Defence Corps (69413). He re-enlisted in the Grenadier Guards on 17 February 1920 but was discharged the following month. Frank named his brother Joseph of 127 High Street, New Whittingham, as his next of kin when he enlisted in 1914, but altered this to his sister Julia Harling, 98 Sherwood Street, Mansfield Woodhouse, in 1920. James' brother-in-law, Albert Harling, also served in the war but survived. Julia Harling, as James' next of kin, completed a form naming his surviving blood relatives in June 1919. She listed the following seven siblings: John Benison (40), Warsop, Mansfield Joseph Benison (36), New Whittingham, Chesterfield William Benison (29), New Whittingham, Chesterfield Frank Benison (28), Warsop, Mansfield Julia Harling (41), 98 Sherwood Street, Mansfield Woodhouse Hannah Binns (39), New Whittingham, Chesterfield Mary Benison (25), Sheffield. Harriet has not been positively identified in any records after 1911. Julia died in 1929 (December Mansfield) aged about 51. Her brother, John, died in 1947 (March Mansfield) aged about 72. Hannah Binns may have died on 6 February 1963 (Mar Staincliffe Yorkshire West Riding) aged 82 (b. abt 1881).
Coal miner at Langwith Colliery.
17 Jul 1916
76766 - CWGC Website
He enlisted in Mansfield
1st Bn Lincolnshire Regiment
James attested on 28 August 1914 and joined at Leicester on 29 August. He served in France from 17 February 1915 and from his service record it appears that he received a wound to his right knee on 29 March and then suffered from bronchitis and was in hospital from 16 April until 25 April, returning to duty on 26 April. However, on the night of 26 April 1915 he was treated at No. 8 Casualty Clearing Station for a self inflicted injury to his throat and the following day was admitted to hospital in Boulogne. He was diagnosed with neurasthenia (exhaustion of central nervous system) and later medically evacuated to the UK where he was admitted to the 4th London General Hospital, Denmark Street, on 23 July. On 17 August 1915 he was transferred to the War Hospital, Springfield House, his medical notes recorded: ‘Usual ‘neurasthenia symptoms. Hospital treatment. Transferred to Springfields.' James had admitted to attempting to cut his throat and the military authorities, having investigated the circumstances and taken witness statements, confirmed that he had 'intentionally self-inflicted' the wound. (The alternatives were: 'self-inflicted through carelessness' or 'a pure accident, and the man is in no way to blame.') He was probably discharged from hospital on 10 September 1915 as his record shows that he was posted on that date. On 24 January 1916 he was awarded 21 days punishment for absence (details illegible) and then awarded 14 days detention on 19 February 1916 'for breaking out of the guard room when a prisoner and absent from a draft under orders'. James returned to France on 22 March 1916 and may have been wounded on 12 July 1916, dying of his wounds on 17 July 1916. He is buried in Daours Communal Cemetery Extension (grave ref. I.B.6). He qualified for the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
NOTE: James' surname is spelt 'BENNISON' on the war memorial in Yeoman Memorial Park but 'BENISON' on the CWGC record and some civil records as well as in the report of his death in the local paper. His brother, George, is also commemorated on the Yeoman Memorial Park memorial (Bennison). Mansfield Reporter and Sutton Times, ‘Roll of Honour’, 25 August 1916 (report and photograph): ‘Mansfield Woodhouse Private Killed. Pte J Benison (8801) G Company, 3rd Battalion 1st Lincolnshire Regiment, was wounded on July 17th, and died two days later in France. Before enlisting he worked at the Langwith Colliery, and resided with his sister, Mrs Harling, 98 Sherwood-street, Mansfield Woodhouse. He enlisted on Aug. 23rd (sic) 1914, crossed to France in February the next year. At Christmas he was wounded but returned to France in April, 1915. His age was 23 years.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) James nominated his sister, Julia Harling, as his next of kin; her address was given as 98 Sherwood Street, Mansfield Woodhouse. Julia was also his sole legatee.
Remembered on


  • Panel on war memorial, Mansfield Woodhouse Yeoman Memorial Park (Bennison). Photograph Rachel Farrand.
    James Benison - Panel on war memorial, Mansfield Woodhouse Yeoman Memorial Park (Bennison). Photograph Rachel Farrand.
  • Photograph was published on 25th August 1916 in the Mansfield Reporter and Sutton Times and is courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
    James Benison - Photograph was published on 25th August 1916 in the Mansfield Reporter and Sutton Times and is courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918