condensed discuss document expanded export feedback print share remove reset document_white enquire_white export_white report_white

Charles Basil Bennet

  • Service number
    WWII 38188 AWMM
  • Also known as
    • Charlie Bennet AWMM
    • Charlie Y.M. AWMM
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Last rank
  • War
Portrait - This image may be subject to copyright

Portrait - This image may be subject to copyright


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Charles Basil AWMM
  • Surname
    Bennet AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    • Charlie Bennet AWMM
    • Charlie Y.M. AWMM
  • Service number
    WWII 38188 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

Contribute ›
  • Birth
    5 July 1908 AWMM DunedinOtago AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    WW2 Pre 6 November 1940 AWMM YMCA Wellington, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    WW2 Mr T. Bennet (father), 27 Gresham Street, Andersons Bay, Dunedin, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Pre 8 November 1940 AWMM Single AWMM


Wars and conflicts

Contribute ›
  • War
  • Campaign
    Italy AWMM
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    WWII 38188 AWMM
  • Military service
    Otago Mounted Rifles (3 years) AWMM
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

Contribute ›
  • Medals and Awards
    • Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) (Civil) AWMM
      Mr. Bennet of the NZ YMCA has been attached to this unit since the first Libyan campaign. During all this time he has served the men of this unit with absolute devotion and loyalty, and during periods of front-line fighting, with complete disregard for his own personal safety. Mr. Bennett has always been untiring in his efforts to bring cheer to the men, and even when bullets have been flying and shells bursting, Mr. Bennett could be seen on his own vehicle or on a Bren carrier, distributing comforts to the men. The shell-splinters and holes in his vehicle bear witness to the thoroughness with which he did his ob and of the personal courage that he has always displayed.Mr. Bennett has been a great influence in the unit, both spiritually and physically, and has always shown qualities of consideration and courage that have been a great source of inspiration to all the men of his unit. (London Gazette 21/3/1944) AWMM
    • 1939-1945 Star AWMM
    • Africa Star (8th Army clasp) AWMM
    • Italy Star AWMM
    • Defence Medal AWMM
    • War Medal 1939-1945 with oak leaf AWMM
    • New Zealand War Service Medal AWMM

Training and Enlistment

Contribute ›
  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
    WW2 6 November 1940 2NZEF Nom. Roll 3, p.36 Secretary/Civilian 2NZEF Nom. Roll 3, p.36
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment

Prisoner of war

Contribute ›
  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

Contribute ›
  • Medical notes

Last known rank

Contribute ›
  • Last rank

Biographical information

Biographical information

Contribute ›
  • Son of Thomas and Mary (nee Cochrane) Bennet

    During the war, Charles was the driver of the bullet-riddled mobile canteen that followed the 28th Battalion through some torrid Middle East Campaigns. The truck had been bought with the savings by the Maori schoolchildren after the NZ Division lost all its transport to the Germans in Greece. The truck was named Te Rau Aroha, a gift of love. Charlie had countless close calls with shrapnel; even having one piece embed itself in the New Testament that was in his shirt pocket.

    Received the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (Civil Division) in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in the Middle East 7 April 1944.

    Te Rau Aroha was returned to New Zealand and is now fully restored at the Army Museum at Waiouru. It was brought to Auckland for the 28th Maori Battalion Reunion (2010). The truck and the photographs of Charlie, and others from the battalion mostly copied from the lantern slides of the United Maori Mission were displayed before the Memorial Service was held at the Auckland War Memorial Museum

    Veterans from the 28 (Maori) Battalion formed a guard of honour and took part in the service at the graveside. Amongst them was Wally Hayward and Muri Thompson. A service sheet for the unveiling was printed and included photographs of the burial service.

    The Auckland Museum Library's manuscripts collection holds a notebook attributed to Bennet, listing the Maori schools visited and their physical locations during a tour by the mobile canteen 'Te Rau Aroha' after its return to New Zealand in 1945-46. [Ref. MS 2011/17]

    Family portrait on 28 Maori Battalion site AWMM
Read more


About death

Contribute ›
  • Death
    3 September 1978 AWMM
    Age 70 AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Waikaraka Cemetery, 1 Alfred Street, Onehunga, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM Area 2, Row F, Plot 26 (RSA Section) AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



Contribute ›
  • Memorial name

Roll of Honour

Remember Charles Basil Bennet by laying a poppy.

Leave a note

Leave a tribute or memory of Charles Basil Bennet

Leave a note

Contribute ›
  • On behalf of my father, Te Oti Bob Joyce, who's strongest influence was Charlie Bennett, a spiritual father. As I reflect on the servant leadership example my father was to me, I must acknowledge the influence Charlie had in leading and shaping my father as a young man. Ki a koe e Pa, haere haere haere, haere ki te Atua kaharawa.
    Public - Sarah - Self - 27 April 2015



Contribute ›


Command item
Command item
Add new record Refresh
DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
27 April 2015SarahAucklandSelf

The development of the Online Cenotaph is an ongoing process; updates, new images and records are added weekly. In some cases, records have yet to be confirmed by Museum staff, and there could be mistakes or omissions in the information provided.

Creative Commons LicenseOnline Cenotaph Data by Auckland War Memorial Museum is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.