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BENNETT, Oscar Berendt (1895-1955)

BENNETT, Oscar Berendt (1895-1955)

Oscar Bennett was born on 23 February 1895, the son of Solomon Berendt Bennett and Elizabeth nee Cohen.

After attending Scotch College, Melbourne in 1908 he became a boarder at Geelong College from 1909 to 1912. His address at enrolment was listed as 112 Gatehouse St, Parkville. In his last year at College he rowed 5 seat in Geelong College's 1st Rowing VIII at the Head of the River. He was also in the Athletics Team in 1911 and 1912.

He enlisted (No 381) as a Private in the AIF on 16 July 1915, and embarked for overseas with 22 Battalion (9th Reinforcement Group) on 17 December 1915. He was at 3rd AGH, Cairo, on 18 May 1916. On 7 October, 1917 he was detached to 3rd School of Military Aeronautics, and served with 67 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, in Egypt, before remustering as a Motor Cyclist Private (2nd Air Mechanic) on 29 December 1918. He returned to Australia on HMT Port Sydney, embarking on 4 March 1919.

He died on 8 October 1956.

His brother, Captain Gershon Berendt Bennett, had a distinguished career in dentistry, and served in both world wars. After studying in America, Gershon Bennett gained a commission in November 1915 as a Lieutenant and served in various medical positions rising to the rank of Captain with the 4th Convalescent Hospital (England) in August 1918. In April 1921, he married Bertha Monash, the only child of Sir John Monash. He was like a son to Monash, as Roland Perry stated in 'Monash: The Outsider Who Won A War', 'In April 1921, Rabbi Jacob Danglow married Bertha and Gershon Bennett, a Melbourne dentist with a likeness to a young Monash. ‘Gersh’ had been a long-time friend to Bertha, and Monash had helped him get a commission in the AIF after he had studied in the USA. The two men had become good friends, which facilitated the development of Bertha’s relationship with the young man. It blossomed during Bertha’s visit to England in 1919 … Gershon was very much the son that Monash never had. They became close, living under the same roof at 'Iona' for eleven years. Gershon admired his father-in-law. After Monash’s death, he often made glowing speeches about him. Because he was not a Monash, there were none of the expectations that always follow the son of a famous, outstanding achiever.' In World War II, Gershon Bennett served in Australia and New Guinea and became second-in-command of Dental Services. He died aged sixty-two in 1955.

Sources: Based on an edited extract from 'Geelong Collegians at the Great War' compiled by James Affleck pp137-8(citing Pegasus; National Archives); Roland Perry, 'Monash: The Outsider Who Won A War'.
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