1918-2008: Ninety Years of Remembrance

Soldier Record

William Bent

Contributed by: Kenneth Bent, on 2008-11-07

William John Bent
Rank
First Name William
Surname Bent
Year of Birth 1897
Year of Death 1954
Regiment Lancashire Fusiliers
Place of Wartime Residence Manchester, Lancashire

William's Story

William John Bent born in Manchester in 1897 joined the Lancashire Fusiliers - Territorials in November 1913 at the age of 16. At the outbreak of war, his Bn., the 1/7th, became part of the Lancashire Fusiliers Brigade, East Lancashire Division. On the 25th September 1914, the Bn., landed in Egypt, from there on the 5th May 1915 they landed in Gallipoli. On the 26th May, the formation became the 125th Brigade/42nd Division. During this time, William John Bent and his comrades suffered greatly from reoccurring bouts of dysentery and paratyphoid. These illnesses and enteric fever for William Bent resulted in his evacuation to St. David's Military Hospital, Malta. He was returned to England in January1916 where he convalesced until returning to France in August 1916.

For three days he lay, alive, in no man's land

It was in September 1916 that his transfer took place to the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 'The Loyals'. The Loyals were in involved in several actions on the Western Front. In February 1918, William Bent again returned to England to attend an Officer Training Unit. By August 1918, he returned to Cambrai France and in October of that year, he was wounded in action. He sustained gunshot wounds in his left leg and right wrist as well as shrapnel wounds to one arm and shoulder. For three days, he lay alive in No Man's Land until such time soldiers came to retrieve the bodies of the fallen. He was counted among the fatalities that day and lifted onto a cart with his dead comrades, when one of the soldiers involved in retrieving the bodies noticed a movement from William. Found alive he was taken to a casualty clearing station, then spent time at No. 2 Stationary Hospital, Rouen where after a dedicated effort by hospital staff to save his left leg, amputation was necessary to save his life after which he was transferred to England. He spent approximately eight months in various hospitals recovering from his wounds, including time spent at Roehampton Hospital for the fitting and mastering of the use of a prosthetic. William met this challenge with the inimitable style of a true born and bred Lancashire lad, and went on to catch the eye of a lovely Lancashire lass by the name of Bertha. They married in 1922 and had two sons. William lived a full and productive life and in the early 1950's returned to Roehampton to successfully complete a course and become a Limb Instructor specialising in instructing the disabled in the use of leg prosthesis.

William John Bent passed away in January 1954.

Other memories

Kenneth Bent, son of William John Bnt, East Anglia 2008-11-08

I remember my father, William John Bent, as a loving and quiet man.

He never spoke to me about the war years it was from my mother I learnt of his experiences.

He fought side by side with his pals and one dear friend was fatally wounded by his side.

Late 1919 he returned to his former employment at Bradford Dyers Association, Salford.

In 1950 trained at Roehampton as an instructor specialising in training leg amputees.

I recall my father liked to sit by the fire at home so lost in his thoughts as the day faded and the room was in darkness other than the light from the fire. One of his favourite meals was tripe and onions!

My father passed away at age 56. He was, as we all are, proud to respond to the call to fight for this "green and pleasant land". However, I believe the ravages of that war resulting in physical losses for my father contributed to the shortening of his life. He is greatly missed. "God Bless you Dad".

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