Harry Wallace Benson
From Our Contribution
|Date of Birth||21 Jan 1916|
|Place of Birth||London, England|
|Place of Death||New South Wales|
|Age at Enlistment||26 years, 9 months|
|Description||5'8" (1.73m) tall ; ; dark complexion ; grey eyes ; brown hair ; scar on left shoulder|
|Address||River road, Kelmscott, Western Australia|
|Next of Kin||Father , Mr. Henry Benson|
|Date of Enlistment||7 Nov 1939|
|Unit/Formation||2/11th Australian Infantry Battalion|
|1st Departure from Australia|
|Journey Dates||20 Apr 1940 ‒ 17 Jun 1940|
|Transport Details||HMT Nevasa Fremantle to Kantara, Egypt|
|Journey Dates||10 Apr 1941 ‒ 12 Apr 1941|
|Transport Details||SS Pennland Gaza to Pireas, Greece|
|Journey Dates||25 Apr 1941 ‒ 26 Apr 1941|
|Transport Details||SS Thurland Castle Megara, Greece to Suda Bay Crete|
|Return to Australia|
|Journey Dates||18 Jun 1945 ‒ 24 Jul 1945|
|Transport Details||J 11 England to Sydney|
|Post War Details|
Prisoner of War |
Returned to Australia
|External Monument(s)||The Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial Ballarat, Victoria|
1939-45 Star |
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45
Greek Commemorative War Medal 1940-41
Electoral Roll entries: 1943 River road, Kelmscott, debt collector
Harry enlisted in Subiaco on 7 Nov 1939 and he was allocated to the 2/11th Australian Infantry Battalion. On 19 Nov 1939 he was charged with having overstayed his leave for which he received a fine of 5/- (50 cents). On 30 Nov 1939 Harry and his unit embarked in Fremantle to join the 18th Brigade of the 6th Australian Division at Greta in New South Wales. In Sydney Harry was AWOL from midnight 6 January until 10:00am the following day. Fined £2 ($4) on this occasion.
The battalion returned to Western Australia in the middle of March 1940 for pre-embarkation leave and embarked on HMT Nevasa* the at Fremantle for service overseas on 20 Apr 1940. They disembarked at Kantara in the middle of the Suez Canal on 17 May 1940. On 29 May 1940 Harry was charged with having been absent between 6:30pm and 9:00pm. Punishment was a fine of 15/- ($1.50). AWOL again, between 8:30am and 11:00pm on 26 Jun 1940, this time he was sentenced to 14 days detention (spent in 1st Australian Detention Barracks and the automatic forfeit of 15 day's pay.
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 SS Pennland in Gaza harbour on 10 Apr 1941 for Greece, landing at Pireus on 12 Apr 1941. On 4 Apr 1941 Harry was admitted to the 26th British General Hospital with an infection but seems to have rejoined his unit before they were evacuated on SS Thurland Castle 25 - 26 Apr 1941 to Crete. The next entry in Harry's records lists him as missing on 4 Jun 1941, and believed to be a POW on 8 Jun 1941. The Red Cross were able to confirm that he was a POW being held in Stalag VIIA on 28 Oct 1941 with a POW Number of 92178.
On 8 Apr 1943 Harry was interned in Stalag 383. On 12 May 1945 Harry arrived in the UK, as a recovered POW, by plane from Europe. He was taken on strength by the 1st AIF Transit Camp UK. On 18 Jun 1945 he embarked on J11 in England for the New South Wales Recruit Reception & General Details Depot, arriving in Sydney and disembarking on 24 Jul 1945. On 31 Jul 1945 he was transferred to the Western Command Recruit Reception & General Details Depot. From 10 - 30 Aug 1945 Harry received rehabilitation treatment from the 109th Australian Convalescent Depot before being admitted to the 110th Australian Base Hospital (also known as Perth Military Hospital). He returned to the convalescent depot on 12 Sep 1945, before being sent back to the hospital on 28 Sep 1945. Harry had one last visit to the convalescent depot from 2 Nov 1945 until 10 Dec 1945 before being sent back to the Western Command Recruit Reception & General Details Depoton 10 Dec 1045 for discharge. Harry sought discharge in NSW on compassionate grounds and it was granted with the discharge occurring on 19 Feb 1946.
During 1949 married Dorothy Mabel Isabel Spencer in Perth
Electoral Roll entries: 1958 - 1963 at 6 Stanbury street, Gladesville, NSW, student with Dorothy working as a clerk; 1968 - 1980 an industrial chemist living with Dorothy at 58 Bellevue avenue, Denistone NSW.