Serial No. 3601
53rd Battalion & 36th Battalion
Ernest Benson - Information
As the war commenced, Ernest was residing with his family on Livingstone Rd in Ingleburn. His mother, Theresa, had moved the family to the area after his father, Alfred, had died. He passed away in South Africa in 1901, following military service during the Boer War. In Ingleburn, Ernest served in the Senior Cadets and eventually found work as a warehouseman. In 1917, shortly after his mother remarried David Smith, he joined the colours. On the 16th of July, Ernest enlisted at the Recruiting Depot at the Royal Naval House on Grosvener St in Sydney. Ernest claimed that he was 21 when he joined up, but was actually19. This indicates that he did not have his parents' permission to enlist. He trained at the Royal Showground Camp, where he was allotted to the 10 Reinforcements, 53rd Battalion. He embarked Sydney Harbour onboard the HMAT Miltiades on the 2nd of August 1917.
The Miltiades sailed into Glasgow at the beginning of October. He was then marched into the 14th Training Battalion at Hurdcott. At the end of January 1918, he joined the Anzacs on the Western Front, and was taken on strength to the 36th Battalion. On the 1st of February, he was detached to the 3rd Australian Machine Gun Company and later assigned permanently. He was shortly taken to hospital sick on the 25th of April until the beginning of June. His unit then participated in the Battle of Amiens. Here on the 8th of August, Ernest was wounded, when an artillery burst sent shrapnel into his right leg. The shrapnel was removed and he recovered, rejoining his unit in mid September. The war was soon over on the 11th of November. In February 1919, Ernest was allotted for duty with the Base Depot in Havre. He was finally sent back to Australia on the 22nd of November 1919 onboard the HMAT Aeneas.
He was discharged in March 1920 and returned to his family in Ingleburn. He shortly married his sweetheart, Jean Danks in 1920 in Ashfield. They began their family with Heather and Nesta. Ernest then re-enlisted in the Army during the Second World War. However, was soon discharged. Ernest passed away in 1978 and was buried in Denham Court with his family.