Remembering the Fallen: On this day in 1915, Lieutenant Hugh Cecil Benson, 9th (Service) Battalion, the Rifle Brigade (the Prince Consort’s Own), was killed in action at Hooge on the Western Front.
Educated at Eton, he had joined the Officers’ Training Corps and went on to train as an architect. At the outbreak of the Great War he had a particularly successful career, but chose to put it on hold and apply for a commission in the Rifle Brigade. He was promoted to Lieutenant in December of 1914.
On the day of his death he had been in the trenches near Hooge, and died from concussion after a heavy enemy bombardment which caught two platoons who were in the wrong place due to an error. Lieutenant-Colonel C.H. Villiers-Stuart was angry in particular at the loss of Lieutenant Benson, who he considered to be a promising officer, and wrote that he was “furious” to lose such good officers and men for nothing; he wrote: “It taught the Brigadier and his staff a lesson which should not have been necessary for them to learn in that way”. Lieutenant Benson was buried quietly, but the site of his burial was later shelled, so he has no known grave and is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing at Ypres in Belgium.
His Eton tutor, Mr. Rawlins, wrote of him on hearing of his death: “While his coolness and courage won admiration, his liveliness and buoyant spirits made him the best of comrades, and his happy smile will be an abiding memory of an attractive personality among the many friends who loved him.”
Hugh, from Kensington, was 31 years old.