WWI Group to the CFA - Shell Shock at Ypres
WWI Group to the CFA - Shell Shock at Ypres - 1914-15 Star (41466 GNR: B. BENNETT. CAN:FD:ART:); British War Medal (41466 DVR. B. BENNETT. C.F.A.); and Victory Medal (41466 DVR. B. BENNETT. C.F.A.). Naming is officially impressed. Very crisp detail, original ribbons with individual pinbacks, as worn by the veteran, contact marks, better than very fine. Accompanied by a CD containing twenty-one pages with copies of his Index Cards, Attestation Paper, Service Records, Medical Records and Discharge Certificate. Footnote: Blanchard Bennett was born on October 1, 1893 in Albert, Albert County, New Brunswick. He enlisted with the 8th Battery, 19th Canadian Field Artillery in Moncton, New Brunswick on August 25, 1914. He signed his Attestation Paper on September 22, 1914 at Quebec City, Quebec (Valcartier), naming his next-of-kin as his mother, Annie Bennett of Cambridge, Massachusetts, stating that he had two years' previous military service, that he was not married and that his trade was that of Chauffeur. Upon arrival in England, he was transferred to No. 2 Depot Battery at Lavington on February 9, 1915. Four months later, he was drafted for service in the French theatre on May 13, 1915, taken on strength of the Divisional Ammunition Company. Once in France, he was taken on strength of the 3rd Artillery Brigade on May 22nd, transferred to the 1st Battery on August 12th, then transferred again, to the 4th Battery on August 22nd. Bennett was briefly attached to the Royal Naval Kite Balloon Section on September 25, 1915. He was admitted to No. 3 Canadian Field Ambulance on December 21, 1915 with Chronic Appendicitis, treated, then discharged on the 28th. He was out of hospital a week when he was admitted to No. 1 Canadian Field Ambulance on January 3, 1916, suffering from diarrhea, enteritis and laryngitis, then transferred to Mont-des-Chats, where he would spend the next three weeks before being discharged on January 24th. Bennett was one year in the French theatre, when he was buried by a shell explosion during the Second Battle of Ypres. He was admitted to No. 2 Canadian Field Ambulance on May 7, 1916 and discharged eight days later on the 15th, rejoining his rejoining unit on the 25th. He was again confronted with sickness six weeks later, admitted to No. 3 Canadian Stationary Hospital with Influenza on June 20, 1916, then transferred to No. 1 Convalescent Depot at Boulogne on the 23rd. The decision was made at Boulogne to invalid him to England, as his Influenza wasn't the only malady affecting him, as noted by the medical personnel. His encounter at Ypres the month before had produced a case of "Shell Shock", the official diagnosis listed as "Neurasthenia" (a mechanical weakness of the actual nerves). He was transported by the Hospital Ship St. Denis and admitted to the Military Hospital, Trent Bridge at Nottingham on June 26th, attached to the Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre at Folkestone, where he was tor remain for the next month, before being discharged on July 25th. He remained in England, documented as having been with the Artillery at Hastings in March 1917, after having been discharged from the 3rd Canadian Convalescent Depot. He was taken on strength of the Canadian Reserve Artillery Brigade at Shorncliffe on April 27th. While at Shorncliffe, he was granted permission to wear a Good Conduct Badge on May 14, 1917. He was struck off strength to the No. 1 Reserve Artillery on June 22nd and posted to the Regimental Depot on the 28th. However, the severity of Bennett's Neurasthenia came to a head in the summer of 1917, as he was admitted to Moore Barracks, Shorncliffe on June 12th. In his Medical History of an Invalid, dated June 15, 1917 at Moore Barracks, Canadian Hospital, Shorncliffe, it noted his condition, as it was now thirteen months after his experience at Ypres: "This man was 15 months (personal recollection) in France, previous to May 1916 when he was blown up by a shell in Ypres. He was returned to England June 1916 to a Hospital at Nottingham, thence to C.C.A.C. Folkestone, and to F.T. Group for nine months, during which time he did not work. Then sent to his reserve, where he has been for two months at light duties. He is able to do duty for a day or two, then becomes very nervous and shaky. His memory is poor and he does not sleep well." His circumstances were listed as "Shell shock and illness, contracted on active service", with "trembling effects (in) his speech. He does not sleep well and has night tremors". It was "Impossible to state" if the disability would be permanent but he was declared not even fit for light duty. Bennett was struck off strength and invalided to Canada for further medical treatment, sailing from Liverpool, England aboard the Hospital Ship Letitia on July 21, 1917. He continued his treatment for Neurasthenia at MHCC Halifax from August 3, 1917 to September 28, 1917, before being transferred to MHCC Saint John. In his Medical History of an Invalid, dated December 13, 1917 at Saint John, New Brunswick, it describes Bennett's condition, now that he was back on Canadian soil: "At present patient looks and feels well. Is still nervous and has a tremor of hands. Reflexes still somewhat exaggerated. His speech is yet stuttering and slow. Sleeps fairly well now. Heart action is somewhat rapid, 96 (beats) per minute, at rest. In May 1916 was buried by shell explosion. Cannot remember occurrence. Lost memory for long while after. Had terrifying dreams; some degree of tremor. Emotional disturbance. Loss of speech and later stuttering." The medical authorities estimated that he was to have a 35% reduction in his capacity to earn a livelihood in the untrained labour market and that he would not be able to resume his former trade of Chauffeur. They recommended that the "patient will improve better under his own control", that additional treatment was not required and that he be placed in Category "E" (unfit for service in Categories A (general service), B (service abroad, not general service) and C (home service (Canada only)). He was transferred to MHCC Fredericton on December 22, 1917 and put on outpatient status. He was discharged in consequence of "being no longer physically fit for War Service", his military character noted as "Very Good". Bennett died on August 6, 1958, at the age of 64.