Private James Bennett
7364 2nd Shropshire Light Infantry
Died at sea 21st February 1917, aged 33
Lived at 1 Holbeck Street
Commemorated on the Mikra Memorial, Salonika
Burnley Express 23rd November 1915 - 14th March 1917 - 14th March 1917 - 3rd November 1917

James Bennett being a former regular soldier who had served first with the Lancashire Fusiliers in the Boer War and later with the Shropshire Light Infantry was recalled as a Reservist to the Colours in August 1914. He fought in the retreat from Mons and then was wounded at the battle of the Aisne. Later he was badly gassed on the Western Front. Subsequently he was drafted to Salonika and it was whilst returning from there for a month’s leave with 6 other Shropshires that he was drowned at the sinking of the SS Princess Alberta on 21st February 1917 and is commemorated on the Mikra memorial. It is difficult to establish the exact number of casualties or whether there were any survivors of the sinking The number of dead has been quoted at 33 (Royal,Navy Merchant Navy and Army casualties were recorded separately) commemorated but the total figure was almost certainly higher as “Soldiers’ Died” lists 26 men as being drowned on that day
The SS Princess Alberta was a Royal Naval Auxiliary Fleet Messenger of 1586 tons which was sunk by a mine laid by German Submarine UC 23 on 21st February 1917 between the islands of Stavros and Mudros in the Aegean Sea. The Princess Alberta was built in Dundee in 1905. The UC 23 was a minelaying submarine of 417 tons which carried 7 torpedos and 18 mines.
The MIKRA MEMORIAL, 8 miles south of Thessaloniki Greece, commemorates 477 nurses, officers and men of the Commonwealth forces who died when troop transports and hospital ships were lost in the Mediterranean, and who have no grave but the sea. They are commemorated here because others who went down in the same vessels were washed ashore and identified, and are now buried at Thessalonika. The ships were: HT "Marquette", torpedoed and sunk by 'U35' on 23 October 1915, 57.5 kilometres south from Salonika Bay, carrying the 29th Division Ammunition Column and the New Zealand Stationary Hospital. HT "Ivernia", torpedoed and sunk on 1 January 1917, 93 kilometres from Cape Matapan, carrying reinforcements for Egypt. HT "Arcadian" was torpedoed and sunk on 15 April 1917, 41.5 kilometres north east from the island of Milo (Melos), carrying reinforcements for Egypt. Hospital Ship "Britannic", of the White Star Line, sunk by mine on 21 November 1916 in the Zea Channel between Greece and the Cyclades, on her way from Naples to Mudos. Fleet Messenger "Princess Alberta", sunk by mine between Stavros and Mudros on 21 February 1917.




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