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Born in Orange in 1885, Walter Garnett Bennett was the second son of Millthorpe newsagent and storekeeper Walter James Bennett and his wife Ellen Selina nee Barnes.

Walter was educated at Millthorpe Public School. He later worked as a bookkeeper and volunteered at the Methodist Sunday School.

On 2 August 1916 Walter enlisted to serve in the First World War. In late October a large group of Millthorpe residents gathered at the Methodist Church to farewell Walter. An evening of speeches and musical items were enjoyed and Walter was presented with a shaving kit and a pocket bible.

He embarked HMAT SS Port Nicholson in Sydney on 8 November 1916, and disembarked in Devonport on 10 January 1917. He was marched in to the 1st Training Battalion the same day and spent the following twelve months undertaking further training in England.

In early March 1918 Private Bennett proceeded to France and was taken on strength with the 1st Battalion. Walter survived just one month on the Western Front; he was killed in action on 16 April 1918.

Walter Garnett Bennett is commemorated on the Methodist Church Orange Honour Roll, the Millthorpe Methodist Church Roll of Honour, the Manchester Unity Oddfellows Millthorpe Roll of Honour, the World War I Roll of Honour on the southern face of the Orange Cenotaph and on panel number 28 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

In 1923 the Anzac Memorial Avenue of trees was planted along Bathurst Road to commemorate fallen WWI soldiers. A tree was planted in honour of “Pte W Bennett”; presumably Walter. It was donated by Ken Beaton. Very few of the trees are still standing today.

Walter’s older brother Joseph Victor Bennett also served in WWI; he returned to Australia in June 1919.


  • Graham Hargreaves says:

    Great work and thankyou Australian War Memorial. A real tragedy to die so young and so close to the end of the war. Walter is remembered for the part he played in stopping the German Spring Offensive and bringing an end to the war. Hazelbrook and Millthorpe both railway towns salute him.

    • Admin@WW1 says:

      Thanks for your comment Graham. The content on the Centenary of WW1 in Orange Blog is complied by staff of Orange City Library as part of our commitment to this initiative. The Australian War Memorial is only one of the raft of resources that are used in developing these stories.

  • Andrew Witheford says:

    Thank you for this detailed piece about my grandmother’s cousin. Greatly appreciated.

  • Graham Hargreaves says:

    Thankyou Orange City Library Staff for all the work you have done for the “Centenary of World War 1 in Orange” and in particular Walter Garnett Bennett.