Graham Leslie BENNETT

BENNETT, Graham Leslie

Service Numbers: SX22401, S53414
Enlisted: 14 July 1942, Wallgrove, New South Wales
Last Rank: Captain
Last Unit: 2nd/8th Infantry Battalion
Born: Moonta, South Australia, 17 September 1913
Home Town: Freeling, Light, South Australia
Schooling: Prince Alfred College, Adelaide, South Australia
Occupation: Medical Practitioner
Died: Leukemia , South Australia, 8 October 1978, aged 65 years
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Freeling WW2 Memorial
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World War 2 Service

14 Jul 1942: Involvement Captain, SX22401
14 Jul 1942: Involvement Captain, S53414
14 Jul 1942: Enlisted SX22401, Wallgrove, New South Wales
14 Jul 1942: Enlisted SX22401, 2nd/8th Infantry Battalion
21 Mar 1946: Discharged Captain, SX22401, 2nd/8th Infantry Battalion
21 Mar 1946: Discharged SX22401, 2nd/8th Infantry Battalion

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Biography contributed by Annette Summers


Graham Leslie Bennett was born on 17th September 1913, in Moonta, SA. His parents were Leslie Bennett and Mercy Laura, nee Close. They had four sons and two daughters. His father was an auctioneer and a very active community member in Moonta. Bennett was educated at Prince Alfred College, and studied medicine at the University of Adelaide, graduating with credit, in 1936. Bennett received a prize for Pharmacology in 1932 and was recommended for the Everard Scholarship. He completed a resident year at the Adelaide Hospital in 1936. He was fined five shillings with one-pound costs for having a white tail light on his bicycle, while at the Adelaide Children's Hospital, in 1937. He spent four years in a country general practice at Freeling, SA, before joining the Army. He married Edith Helena on 8th January 1938. His wife tragically suddenly died on 20th March 1942 at Moonta. 

Bennett enlisted in the AAMC, on the 17th May 1941, at the rank of captain, his wife Edith Helena was named as his next of kin. He was called up for full-time duty on 7th December 1941 and was posted as RMO to 9/23rd Lt Horse Regt. He transferred to 48 Bn then at Woodside, SA, on 6th January 1942. He had a period of hospitalisation before being moved to 3MD on 21st February, and then to 2 MD on 8th May. Bennett transferred to the 2/AIF in Wallgrove, New South Wales, on the 14th July 1942, and it was noted that he was now a widower.  He was attached to 108 Lt Anti-Aircraft Battery on 27th August 1942, until 1st July 1943 when he was posted to 1st FdAmb, attached to 1 Aust Div.  He was posted to 112 Lt Anti-Aircraft Battery in the Northern Territory, on 3rd December 1943. Bennett was again posted as RMO to 2/8 Inf Bn on 3rd July 1944, in preparation for embarked in Cairns to Aitape, PNG on 7th November 1944.  Before leaving for PNG, he married a New Zealand war widow, Nora Joan Varley Chesterman, nee Hudson, on 17th October 1945. They were to have three children. Bennett contracted Dengue Fever in PNG during December, and on discharge from hospital was posted to 3/14th FdAmb on 14th January 1945, and again admitted to hospital, 2/11 AGH with a pilonidal cyst on 24th April 1945.  Bennett was promoted to major on 23rd May 1945. He returned to SA LoC area, on 11th September 1945, and was detached to the Inter-Service Medical Wing, followed by 2 Australian Outpatient Department, and discharged on 21st March 1946.

Following the war, Bennett returned to SA, and joined an expanding general practice in Woodville. He took a year's study leave, in 1953 to achieve his MRACP and then followed this with the FRACP in 1973. Bennett enjoyed golf and tennis, but after ill health prevented him from pursuing these interests, he devoted his time to medical politics. He was a member of the SA branch of the BMA and president from 1956 to 1957.  After the foundation of the AMA, he was appointed a federal councillor in 1962 until 1970 and made a Fellow in 1970.  He was a member of many committees, including; the Medical Services Committee of Enquiry, the Repatriation Drug Committee, the Medical Defence Association of SA (chairman 1976 to 1978), the Medical Benevolent Association 1961 to 1978 and the Dental Board of SA 1957 to 1970. Tragedy struck Bennett when his son Robert died. Bennett also contracted hypertension and leukaemia.  Graham Leslie Bennett died on 8th October 1978.  He was survived by his wife Nora and their children.  His son, Kim Bennett, is a general practitioner in North Adelaide.


Blood, Sweat and Fears III: Medical Practitioners South Australia, who Served in World War 2. 

Swain, Jelly, Verco, Summers. Open Books Howden, Adelaide 2019. 

Uploaded by Annette Summers AO RFD