Naval Good Shooting Medal, EDVII, 191737 W. T. Benns, HMS Attentive, awarded 1910 with the 12 Pounder Q.F.
William Benns was an A.B. on HMS Attentive for 3 years between 1907 and 1910, earning the rare honour of the Naval Good Shooting Medal for the ship, manning a 12 Pounder Q.F. cannon during 1910.
Whilst on board however, HMS Attentive had proved to be the polar opposite of it’s name, he would witness the Sinking of One Destroyer and Damaging two others in collisions, all ships of the Royal Navy.
He joined the ship on 30th January 1907, later that year on 7th August 1907, she collided with the Destroyer HMS Quail, badly damaging Quail’s Bow.
Next year on 27th April 1908, Attentive was involved in a serious of reckless accidents during a live firing exercise at night with the Eastern Destroyer Flotilla.
She accidentally rammed and sunk the Destroyer Gala, fortunately only killing 1 Seaman. Attentive would then ram into the Destroyer HMS Ribble, holing her before the waterline.
William Thomas Benns, was born on 7th February 1881 in the seaside town of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.
He first joined the Royal Navy having been a Carter, aged just 15 as a Boy 2nd Class at HMS Impregnable on 21st January 1897.
A rough outline of his ship service:
HMS Ganges, Jan 97 – Feb 98
HMS Agincourt, May 98 – Sept 98
Ramillies, Sep 98 to Oct 98
Venus, Oct 1898 – March 1901
Furious – April 1901 – Dec 1901
Wildfire, Sept 1902 – March 1903
Pembroke, March 1903 – Sept 04
Leander, Sept 1904 – March 1905
Vulcan, April to April 1905
Leviathan, April 1905 – Dec 1905
Wildfire, May 1906 – Jan 1907
Attentive, 30th January 1907 – 14th August 1910.
Foresight, Aug 1910 – Apr 1911
Pembroke I, Apr 1911 – 22d January 1913
World War 1 Period:
HMS Blanche, 23rd Jan 1913 – 29th December 1915
Pembroke I, 30th Dec 1915 – 2nd March 1915
St George, 3rd March 1915 – 5th April 1915.
Pembroke, 6th Apr 1915 – 11th August 1915
Invalided out of the Navy, Necrosis of Bone.
Did not live to see the end of the war, he died in Islington, London on 2nd June 1917.
Navy Medal Rolls show that his 1914-15 Star Trio was issued to his widow.