History – WW2 Farewell to Aircraftsman Eric Bennett



Another representative gathering of the Upper Lansdowne and district people was held in the Memorial Hall on Tuesday evening, 9th September, in honor of yet one more – the 21st – of our young men who have joined the fighting forces. Aircraftsman Eric Bennett, son of Mr and Mrs Col. Bennett, was the guest of honor.

Mr C C Drury, President of the local branch of the Patriotic and War Fund, was chairman and carried out the duties with usual efficiency. Apologies were received from Rev. W. S. Beazley and Adjutant Nicholson.

Community singing, conducted by Mr A Reid of Taree with exceptional vim and energy, was a feature of the evening. Other concern items which were much appreciated comprised: Vocal solos by Miss Sayer and Miss Unicomb; a tap dance by Miss Unicomb; recitation, with a repeat item by Mr Alf Drury; vocal duet by Mrs C C Drury and son Colin Drury, and instrumental items (piano-accordian) by Mr Ken Cause. Mr Ken Cause also acted as accompanist on the piano for many of the items.

Mr and Mrs Bennett and family were invited to the stage, while Eric was escorted by the 1914-18 veteran, Mr Leo. Clune who also has a son at the front today.

The chairman introduced the guest in very flattering tones and a number of local citizens also came forward and spoke in eulogistic terms of the Bennett family as being excellent neighbours and ideal citizens in every way. They lauded Eric as a worthy young man who could be relied on to pay the game and do his utmost to win through. Those privileged to speak included Mrs E A Minett, W G Minett, A G Drury and Jas. McLaughlin.

Mr R A Lavender, another veteran of the last conflict, was invited to make the presentation of, firstly, an ample parcel from the local W.V.S. and of a handsome wristlet watch from Eric’s many friends and wellwishers. The gifts were accompanied by some sound advice from one who had travelled the road and by some well placed words of encouragement.

A very suitable response was made by the guest in expressing his thanks for all the kind words and the gifts which he highly valued. The watch, which was fastened on by a friend, Miss Emerton, he would especially prize and endeavour to carry through.

Mr Col. Bennett also thanked the speakers and the gathering generally for the compliment to his son. He expressed faith in the present system of enlistment for national service as providing the necessary direct personal appeal to secure the right type of soldiers.

Before concluding formal proceedings the chairman invited Mr Jas. McLaughlin to propose a vote of thanks to the Taree visitors, for their valued contribution to the evening’s entertainment. The thanks was conveyed by hearty acclamation and responded to by Mr Alf. Drury.

The customary cheers and Auld Lang Syne concluded the programme and the company adjourned to an excellent supper while the dancing enthusiasts prepared to complete the evening’s enjoyment in the good old way.