T.A. Bennett (41-45)
Thomas Anthony Bennett (41-45) was born in Holbeach on 29th July 1927 and died 1st August 2017 aged 90.
His son John Bennett writes:
“My father was at the Pangbourne from 1941-45 and then went into the Merchant Navy with the New Zealand Shipping Company. Whilst in Auckland, New Zealand he met Jocelyn Macky and after a short courtship, they were married in January 1954 and after the honeymoon Jocelyn travelled by herself from Wellington to Southampton on MV Ruahine to set up her new home in England. In January this Year (2017), they celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary and have four children.
On his first voyage as an Apprentice (outward bound for Pearl Harbour, Hawaii), his ship, Papanui collided in dense fog in Gravesend Bay, New York Bay, with the US steamer James Caldwell on 14th July 1945. He served on Papanui as 4th officer and progressed to 1st Mate (Chief Officer) in 1953 on MV Nottingham. He obtained his Master’s Ticket in 1954 and then resigned at his own request on 8th April 1956 to be with his family and to join his father in the flour milling and corn merchant trade.
His serving vessels were: Orari 1946 / Papanui 1948-1950 / Rangitata 1950 / Hertford 1950 / Gloucester 1951-1952 / Devon 1952 / Rakaia 1952 / Nottingham 1952-1953 / Kent 1953 / Dorset 1953-1954 / Orari 1955.
“My father was immensely proud of his time in the Merchant Navy and we both enjoyed attending the Conway-Worcester-Pangbourne event in June 2015 on the Cutty Sark, in Greenwich. Dad was a very proud man and always taught us to respect and help others but at the same time not to take life too seriously”.