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HoC - Roll of Honour - Edward Pius Bendix


Ernest Richard Arundell -- Edward Pius Bendix -- Rodney James Mansfield Bowdidge -- Lionel Frank Burgess

Sergeant L/22938 Edward Pius Bendix

C Company 162nd Brigade, Royal Field Artillery

Sergeant Edward Bendix RFA, appears in the Parish Magazine in February 1916 and is listed among those serving in France and Belgium. His address is given as 12 Elmwood Road. Edward continues to be listed among those on active service, though from March 1917 the theatre of war is omitted due to censorship. His final appearance in the February 1918 edition of the magazine is as follows:

‘We deeply regret to have to add a further name to the list of those who have made the supreme sacrifice. As we go to press we have received news that Edward Bendix Sergeant, RFA has been killed in action. May we offer our sincere sympathy to those to whom he was dear, and are mourning his loss:-

‘’Yet ever round us, though unseen,
The dear immortal spirits tread;
For all the boundless universe
Is Life – there are no dead’’

Contact was made with people believed to be Edward’s niece and her husband but Mr and Mrs Scott knew of no contact that ‘their Edward’ had with Chiswick and thought there must be two soldiers of the same name. However, research has shown only one birth for an Edward Bendix that fits the time frame and only one Sergeant Edward Bendix RFA killed in WW1. Therefore one must conclude that the Scott’s ‘Edward Bendix’ and St Michael’s ‘Edward Bendix’ are the same person.

Various possibilities have been considered in respect of the Chiswick link. A link with another Bendix family has, for various reasons, been discounted. At the time of WW1, the houses in Elmwood Road were new and the 1911 Census does not record anyone living at number 12. Five adjacent houses were occupied in 1911 and three had business men boarding with them. By 1916 Kelly’s Directory records Mr Harry George Tunstall living at 12 Elmwood Road so possibly Edward was a lodger. Records also show that Mr Tunstall and his wife had lived in Essex, where Edward grew up, and that they had a daughter Elsie Maud b1895. Is it possible that Edward might have been the object of Elsie Maud’s affections? Clearly we shall be unlikely to solve the mystery of the Chiswick link but it is very clear that Edward meant a great deal to somebody in Chiswick.

Edward’s father, Gustav Pius, came from Germany and was married to Annie Hodge. Gustav and Annie had two other children, Therese and Frederick (Mrs Scott’s father). Gustav Bendix was a shipping agent and partner in a city company, ‘Messers Lindsey, Bendix & Co’. The family owned homes in London and Prittlewell, Essex where Edward spent his childhood.

Edward worked in the family business as a clerk but a military life beckoned and in 1910 he enlisted for four years’ service with the territorial forces, 5th Company Essex & Suffolk Regiment. On completion of this he immediately re-enlisted at Shoeburyness, Essex in No 3 Company Essex and Suffolk Regiment. Subsequently he transferred to the Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery and saw service on the Western Front - promotion to Sergeant followed and sadly Edward Bendix was among the many who fell at Ypres on 13th October 1917. He is buried at Larch Wood (Railway Cutting) Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium. Although his death is not recorded in the Parish Magazines until February 1918 this delay was not unusual as it often took many months for news of casualties to filter back to the UK.

The 3rd Battle of Ypres, commonly known as Passchendaele, was fought between July and November 1917 and was a particularly grim affair. Its objective was for allied forces to gain control of ridges to the south and east of Ypres with a view to ultimately disrupting German railway communications. Appalling weather conditions made it difficult for the artillery to operate effectively and General Gough, recorded that by 26th October 1917 little progress had been made:

‘The state of the ground had been frightful since 1st August, but by now it was getting absolutely impossible. Men of the strongest physique could hardly move forward at all and became easy victims to enemy snipers. Stumbling forward as best they could their rifles soon became so caked and clogged with mud as to be useless.’

The battle remains one of the most controversial episodes of the war. In his memoirs Lloyd George noted:

‘It was indeed one of the greatest disasters of the war’

How tragic therefore that Sergeant L/22938 Edward Bendix should have lost his life in a campaign of such dubious merit.