Pte. J. Bendelow



UNIT: 4th Yorkshire Regiment

NUMBER: 1353

STATUS: Died of Wounds

DATE OF DEATH: 6th July 1917

CEMETERY OR MEMORIAL: Trois Arbres Cemetery, Steenwerck, France

AGE: Unknown

John Bendelow was born and enlisted in Northallerton and his parents lived at Bowman's Yard. Before the War he had been working for Cooper & Son, painter and decorators, with whom he had served his apprenticeship. He was also a keen footballer and played for Romanby FC during the 1912/13 season.

John's parents learned of his death through a letter which they received from Lt. Lucas of Z Company, which read:

" It is with deep regret that I have to write and advise you of the death of your son Private J. Bemdelow, yesterday (July 6th). He was very unfortunate in meeting with his death, as his company was in a trench only about 60 yards from the Germans, and, in the course of his duties he had to go with a party of men to a farm some way behind our lines. Whilst there he was twice wounded and after being taken to the hospital he died of his wounds. I have only been in command of the Company a very short time, and did not know your son very intimately, but he was invariably cheerful and willing, and was much liked by the officers and men in the Company. You have the small consolation of knowing that he died a soldier's death and was buried in the churchyard at Dranoutre with a proper service. I am very grieved to have lost such a valuable man...."

His family also received a letter of condolence from the Brigade Chaplain, Rev. W. Bracecamp, who wrote:

" ...We buried him in a nice quiet spot. Many soldiers were present at the funeral, showing how much your son was respected. A cross has been erected to mark the spot and flowers have been put on the grave..."

The 4th Battalion War Diary states that the Battalion were occupying trenches at Tea Farm in the Ypres Salient from 3rd to 6th July. It was a relatively quiet time apart from some fairly active sniping from the Germans. During these four days, the Diary records that John Bendelow was killed and 13 others wounded..

After being wounded he was probably taken to the 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station, which was located at the site of the present Trois Arbres Cemetery. The cemetery was established for those soldiers who succumbed to their wounds at the Casualty Clearing Station. John Bendelow is recorded in the Battalion's War Diary as having been killed and therefore he must have died soon after being hit, either on his way to, or soon after reaching the CCS.

The reference in Lt. Lucas' letter to John being buried in the churchyard at Dranoutre is confusing. It may be that Lt. Lucas was trying to make his family feel better by suggesting that he was buried in a churchyard. Alternatively his account could be true and John Bendelow's remains were moved to the Trois Arbres Cemetery later. The latter explanation seems unlikely, however, as there is a small Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in Dranoutre Churchyard and so there would seem to have been little point in moving his remains to Trois Arbres.