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.