Tag Archives: Sir Ion Hamilton Benn

GWL 27th July 1917

I am so glad your Papa has got a D.S.O.  Please congratulate him, will you?  It is good news about Wigg too.  It has been awfully hot the las day or two.  We must expect it bad for a bit now.  Your speech was a great effort.  I agree with Mike about the reporter.  A most extraordinarily inefficient performance.  How is your holiday going?  Hope it is a good one. Nothing like a holiday.  Seen nothing of Arthur although they say he is somewhere round this part of the world with my lord Cyril.

To-night I am going out to dinner.  Intense excitement.  A clean coat, a moderately clean pair of trousers and a pair of brown shoes that I bagged off a brother officer as they were too small for him.  In fact quite in the height of fashion.  The mules, damn them, have found a mud hole.  Now as soon as they are let go they dash off there & wallow, returning in the most awful state.”

Ion Hamilton Benn was awarded the distinguished Service Order on 20th July for his part in the raid on Zeebrugge on 11/12 May 1917.

{next post 29th July}

GWL 1st June 1917 (Letters between May 22nd & June 1st are missing, M.H.P.)

Monstrous warm, and a jolly old storm coming up all round.  We have had no rain for a long time, so a drop or two will be welcomed in the garden.  No news at all.  I am very glad only two letters were sunk.  I am afraid that it is almost too much to expect letters to turn up regularly.  Ships get hung up in odd places for days.  Your papa I suppose was just pushing around looking for fish at Zeebrugge, wasn’t he?

A gent from the local anti-air battery is coming to dinner to-night.  I see he has just arrived in a very wonderful car and Lord knows what.  He is an awfully nice fellow.  The flies are having a rotten time.  We catch hundreds every day.  The adjutant squirts them with some smelly stuff and they expire in heaps on the floor”

This letter refers to the bombardement of Zeebrugge on 12 May.  Marion’s father, Sir Ion Hamilton Benn commanded a flotilla of the Dover Patrol for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.  The aim of the action was to destroy the lock gates of Zeebrugge harbour, thereby making it unusable by the German Navy.  Although there was some damage to the harbour itself, the lock gates remained intact.

{next post 3rd June}