The Express & Star proudly proclaims on 2 January 1915 that a local young man, by the name of W. Bentley, who had emigrated to Canada several years previously, “has thrown up an important engagement to answer the call of his King and country.” Apparently his mother felt that he might have made a mistake in taking this choice, “suggesting he might get killed”, but his response was “I shall die doing my duty.” The article went on to state that Mr Bentley had been “connected with the telephone undertaking” whilst in Wolverhampton.
It is this last statement that gives us a likely candidate for this man, as there is a 17-year-old William Bentley in the 1901 census who was a telegraph messenger. This man was born in Shifnal, Shropshire, in 1884. By 1901 he was at 95 Bright Street, Wolverhampton, together with his parents, John and Mary A. Bentley, brother Frank, sisters Rose and Sarah, and grandparents Jane and Thomas Penson.
William Heathcote Bentley was born in 1885 and emigrated to Canada from Wolverhampton in 1912. He was the son of James and Ann Bentley of Wolverhampton. He survived the war, married and returned to Canada. He worked for the telephone company in Saskatchewan as an electrician and engineer.
Thank you very much to William’s great-niece, who provided additional information about this man.