Thomas Pearce (Padre) BENNETT

BENNETT, Thomas Pearce

Service Number: Chaplain
Enlisted: 17 March 1915
Last Rank: Not yet discovered
Last Unit: Australian Army Chaplains' Department
Born: Stawell, Victoria, 1879
Home Town: Warrnambool, Warrnambool, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Priest in Holy Orders (CofE)
Died: Natural causes, Ballarat, Victoria, 9 July 1960
Cemetery: Ballarat (Old) General Cemetery
Memorials: St Johns No 36, Yarrowee No 10, Orion No 53 Lodges
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World War 1 Service

17 Mar 1915: Enlisted
10 May 1915: Involvement SN Chaplain, Australian Army Chaplains' Department
10 May 1915: Involvement 22nd Infantry Battalion
10 May 1915: Embarked Australian Army Chaplains' Department, HMAT Ulysses, Melbourne
10 May 1915: Embarked 22nd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ulysses, Melbourne

Touching the hearts of men facing death

Then there was another Anglican in their brigade, Captain Chaplain T. P.Bennett (who is a native of Stawell), and there was no better clergyman than he, Captain-Chaplain Bennett never missed an opportunity of touching the hearts of men facing death and he was a brother to them all.

Stawell News and Pleasant Creek Chronicle Thursday 16 March 1916 page 3

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Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

To Stawellites - and in fact by church folk generally - the Rev. T P Bennett's appointment as an Archdeacon gives particular pleasure. He is a native of Stawell, and a comparatively young man. Prior to going to Warrnambool, he was vicar of St. Peter's Church, Ballarat, from 1909 to 1912. Shortly after war commenced he served as a chaplain with the Expeditionary Forces, and was a prime favorite with the soldiers. He is an able clergyman, and is equally effective as an organiser and a preacher.
Mr. Bennett, who was ordained into the ministry in 1902, was deacon in charge of Dunkeld in 1902, locum tenems of Hamilton in 1904, vicar of Learmonth from 1905 to 1909 of St. Peter's Ballarat, to 1912, when he went to Warrnambool. He was rural dean of Ballarat South from 1909 to 1912 and he was on active service as a chaplain in 1915-1916. Since his return he has taken up his old duties at Warranambool.
Rev. Bennett is to be congratulated on his appointment, and he has the good wishes of Stawellites for his future success in the Christian Ministry.

Stawell News and Pleasant Creek Chronicle Wednesday 01 August 1917 page 3

​Captain Chaplain Thomas Pearse Bennett landed at Anzac cove with Victoria's 22nd Battalion in September 1915, after months in Egypt and aboard a troop ship. Chaplain Bennett, known to the men as the 'Padre' lived in a dugout in Shrapnel Gully where he spent his days burying the dead, writing to their loved ones and conducting services. Every day he went into the trenches, his 'parish', to visit the battalion and to share their dangers. He was, wrote Patsy Adam-Smith in 'The Anzacs', the paragon amongst men. In fact Patsy wrote a whole chapter about him in her book, and entitled it 'The Padre'. Chaplain Bennett was a keen photographer and a selection of his hand coloured, and black and white slides were donated to the State Library of Victoria in 1983, by his son.
​Also in the State Library Collection are letters of condolence he wrote to the families of his flock, as well his mess tin and other articles from his time on Gallipoli. Mrs Bennett was the sister of Aeneas (Jeannie) Gunn of 'We of the Never Never' fame.




Husband of Clara J BENNETT