Geoffrey Gordon Benson
From Our Contribution
|Date of Birth||6 May 1918|
|Place of Birth||Harrowgate, Yorkshire, England|
|Age at Enlistment||21 years, 5 months|
|Description||5'6" (1.68m) tall ; ; dark complexion ; brown eyes ; dark brown hair ; scar on his forehead|
|Address||River road, Kelmscott|
|Next of Kin||Father , Mr Henry Benson|
|Reg Number||WX 265|
|Date of Enlistment||3 Nov 1939|
|Unit/Formation||2/11th Australian Infantry Battalion|
|1st Departure from Australia|
|Journey Dates||20 Apr 1940 ‒ 19 May 1940|
|Transport Details||HMT Y3 Nevasa Convoy US2 Fremantle to El Kantara|
|Journey Dates||10 Apr 1941 ‒ 12 Apr 1941|
|Transport Details||SS Pennland Alexandria, Egypt to Piraeus, Greece|
|Journey Dates||May 1941|
|Return to Australia|
|Journey Dates||18 Mar 1942 ‒ 19 Apr 1942|
|Transport Details||SS Dorset Egypt to Adelaide|
|Post War Details|
|Fate||Returned to Australia|
1939-45 Star |
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45
Entered camp on 3 Nov 1939 and the next day was taken on strength by the 2/11th Australian Infantry Battalion. On 30 Nov 1939 the battalion embarked in Fremantle for Sydney where they continued their training with other units of the 6th Division. On 17 Jan 1940, at Ingleburn NSW, Geoff was charged with having been AWOL from midnight 6 Jan until 10:00pm on 7 Jan 1940, resulting in a fine of £2 ($4). On 2 Apr 1940 the unit had disembarked in Fremantle from Sydney, and resumed training at the Claremont camp before enjoying pre-embarkation leave from 27 Mar until 2 Apr 1940.
On 20 Apr 1940 the battalion boarded HMT Y3 Nevasa for El Kantara, mid way up the Suez Canal in Egypt. On disembarkation they were moved to the Kilo 89 camp in southern Palestine where on 3 Jul 1940 Geoff was charged with having been AWOL from 5:30pm until 11:00pm on 26 Jun 1940. For this he was fined 10/- ($1). On 1 Oct 1940 he was graded as a Group III Clerk, but later in 18 Mar 1941 he relinquished that grading. In the meantime the battalion saw action in Libya against Italian forces around Bardia, Tobruk and Derna, during January 1941, and then near Benghazi the following month.
The battalion boarded ship in Gaza harbour on 10 Apr 1941 for Greece, landing at Pireus. Forced to be evacuated to Crete on the SS Thurland Castle on 25 & 26 Apr 1941, he was one of few who made their escape to Egypt during May. Sadly his records tell us nothing of his travel during this period. On 9 Jun 1941 Geoff was transferred to the 6th Division's Signals Company from the 19th Infantry Brigade's Signals HQ Company. On 18 Mar 1942 he embarked on the SS Dorset for Adelaide, arriving there on 19 Apr 1942, and he was then granted leave until 3 May 1942.
In Australia on 9 Aug 1942 Geoff failed to appear at a place of parade appointed by his Commanding Officer and for this he was admonished. Four days earlier he had been charged with a Act to the prejudice of good order and military discipline, for which he was fined 10/- ($1). The unit changed its designation on 19 Dec 1942 to become the 12th Australian Division's No 1 Signals Company. From 3 - 9 May 1943 he was treated by the 119th Australian General Hospital at Adelaide River in the Northern Territory before rejoining his unit on 11 May 1943. In trouble again, on 19 May 1943 he was charged with 1) Neglecting to obey General Orders, and 2) Conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline on 12 May. Result was an Admonishment by his Commanding Officer. On 20 Jun 1943 Geoff left the Northern Territory, with a final destination in Queensland, but was granted leave in Western Australia from 3 to 25 Jul 1943. On 8 Aug 1943 in Perth he was charged with having been AWOL from 8:30am on 30 Jul 1943 until 8:30 am on 7 Aug 1943. An absence of 8 days which resulted in a fine of £5 and the loss of pay for that period plus 7 days Confined to Barracks. The next day he was put on a train for South Australia. During his time in WA he had been Medically reassessed as Class B due to Myopic Astigmatism.
On 3 Sep 1943 he was transferred to the 19th Brigade's Signals Section, and was Graded as a Group III Clerk. However, on 11 May 1944 he was returned to WA's Line of Command Base Depot before being reallocated to the 122nd Australian Special Hospital on 30 May 1944. On 29 Jun 1944 he was charged with having been AWOL from 8:00am on 27 Jun 1944 until 1:30pm the next day. Fined £1 ($2) and the automatic forfeiture of 2 day's pay. On 6 Aug 1944 he was AWOL from 9:00am until noon, for which he was fined 10/- ($1). On 12 Mar 1945 he was sent to a base depot for reposting, and on 20 Apr 1945 he was transferred to the 34th Australian Infantry Training Battalion, before on 14 Jun 1945 being transferred to the Coastal Artillery unit at Albany. One of the earliest sent for discharge, he returned to Perth on 26 Aug 1945 and was discharged on 31 Aug 1945.
Geoff had married Patricia Ivy Leggett in Perth during 1944. Electoral Roll entries: 1949 at 285 Mill Point road, civil servant; 1949 - 1954 at 211 Duke street, Scarborough, carpenter