Harry Franklin Miles Benn signature

On this day in 1918 bank clerk Harry Franklin Miles Benn was drafted under the Military Service Act. He was living in Merrickville, Ontario when he was conscripted and he gave his next of kin as his mother, Mary Benn. His younger brother Redginald had enlisted in October, 1915.

On his attestation form, Harry stated that he was born in Deseronto, but his birth was actually registered in Napanee on May 28th, 1896. His parents were Archibald Benn and Mary (née Morrison). By 1901 the family had moved to Merrickville.

When he was drafted, Harry was described as five feet ten and a half inches tall, with a medium dark complexion, brown eyes and dark brown hair. He joined the 2nd Depot Battalion of the Eastern Ontario Regiment with the regimental number 3322695. His service record shows that he was transferred to the 2nd Tank Battalion in September 1918 and that he left Canada for England on October 4th, 1918.

Harry was admitted to hospital on his arrival in England on October 18th, suffering from influenza. He remained in hospital in Bristol and then in Epsom until January 27th, 1919 and was then discharged to Seaford, Sussex, to serve in the Canadian Machine Gun Depot. He was admitted to the 14th Canadian General Hospital in Eastbourne on February 8th, 1919, again suffering from influenza and pneumonia. He spent the remainder of his time in England in hospital. As a result of his illness, his right arm became paralyzed.

Harry Benn medical report

Extract from Harry Franklin Benn’s service file

Obj[ective]. Patient under weight about 20 lbs. 1. Had pneumonia in Oct., 1918, and in Feb., 1919. Examination of chest negative. 2. had paralysis of right arm following pneumonia. Deltoid muscle is improving in strength but it is still wasted. Abduction of right arm is weak. Can raise arm above head with some effort. Other movements are normal.

Benn was invalided to Canada on the on the SS Royal George on July 21st, 1919. Benn was demobilized on August 16th as medically unfit for general service. He married Anne Elizabeth Wilson in Westboro, Ottawa, on April 26th, 1920.

Harry died on November 19th, 1952 and was buried in Merrickville.