Charles Simon Bennett

No. 13102 Charles Bennett

Photograph in a collection of photographs and service records maintained by Dr. Nathaniel Royal Perkins.  During World I, Dr. Perkins was employed by the draft registration board to examine young men for the draft.  During this job, he befriended many servicemen and kept track of their military service during the war.  Dr. Perkins died in 1922, and his widow, Clara, donated the collection to the Dorchester Historical Society in 1924

Charles Bennett enlisted May 1917. In France 19th Squadron  Corps Evidently this picture taken in France.

Charles Simon Bennett was born in Milton, Massachusetts, on November 13, 1894, to Simon Bennett and Harriet (“Hattie”) LeVangie Bennett, both immigrants from Nova Scotia. Simon’s surname had been Benoit before it was Anglicized to Bennett. Simon probably changed it when he came to the United States as a young adult and found work as a mill hand in a chocolate factory. By the time Charles was 5 years old, the family had moved from Milton to 1059 Washington Street in the Lower Mills area of Dorchester. The family had 10 children, but two had passed away by the time of their move. In the 1900 census, the eight children, aged 2 to 18, were living with their parents, and all but the 2-year-old were in school.

By 1910, Charles’s older brother Edward, aged 22, had moved out of the home, but the rest of the children were still living with their parents, in a new rental home a few doors away at 1062 Washington Street in Dorchester. Charles’s father Simon was still working as a laborer in a chocolate factory, and Charles was working as a grocery clerk. Several of Charles’s older sisters were working as dressmakers from home, one of his sisters was working as a waitress in a hotel, and his sister Agnes was  a telegraph operator in a railroad office.

In May of 1917, Charles joined the war effort. His first assignment was with the 43rd Aero Squadron, which was a brand new training unit at Camp Kelly, Texas. They were assigned, but never quite got operational, as a pursuit squadron in France. In October of 1917, Charles was transferred to the 19th Aero Squadron, which had also organized at Camp Kelly in Texas. This unit was responsible for observing the French company Michelin’s air manufacture and assembly procedures, Charles traveled  to Philadelphia to sail to France on the S. S. Northland in December of 1917. He served in France until the end of the war, and returned on the S. S. Arizonan in April of 1919 several days after his honorable discharge.

After the war, Charles returned to Dorchester and lived with his parents at 1062 Washington Street in Dorchester. In the 1920 census, only Charles and his 26-year-old sister Agnes were living with their parents. Simon was still working at the chocolate factory, and Agnes was still working as a telegraph operator. Charles was working as a dredger for a fish market, which may have involved catching clams and oysters for the market.

By 1925, Charles was living in Holyoke, Massachusetts, where he married Eva Gertrude Godkin. In the 1930 census, they were still living in a rented home in Holyoke, and Charles  worked as a fish salesman. Their daughter, Barbara, was two years old. In the 1940 census, they  owned the home they were renting in 1930, and they  had two children, Barbara aged 12, and Charles aged 9. Charles still worked as a fish salesman. When Charles registered for the WWII draft around 1942, the family  lived at a new address in Holyoke, and Charles’s employer was O’Hara Brothers, 22 Fish Pier, Boston. He may have received seafood shipments from Boston, and delivered them to Holyoke-area customers.

Charles kept connected to other military veterans throughout the rest of his life; he was a member of the American Legion Post 325 of Holyoke, and the Holyoke Knights of Columbus Council 90. His wife passed away in 1968, and he followed her a few years later on November 6, 1972, after a short illness. His children survived him, as well as his sister Agnes, who was still living in Dorchester at 7 Van Winkle Street, less than a mile from their childhood home on 1062 Washington Street.

Sources: Massachusetts, Birth Records, 1840-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013. Massachusetts, Marriage Index, 1901-1955 and 1966-1970 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013. Massachusetts, Death Index, 1970-2003 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.

Year: 1900; Census Place: Boston Ward 24, Suffolk, Massachusetts; Page: 22; Enumeration District: 1535; FHL microfilm: 1240688

Year: 1910; Census Place: Boston Ward 24, Suffolk, Massachusetts; Roll: T624_625; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 1632; FHL microfilm: 1374638

Year: 1920; Census Place: Boston Ward 21, Suffolk, Massachusetts; Roll: T625_739; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 524

Year: 1930; Census Place: Holyoke, Hampden, Massachusetts; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 0140; FHL microfilm: 2340641

Year: 1940; Census Place: Holyoke, Hampden, Massachusetts; Roll: m-t0627-01595; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 7-89

The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Massachusetts; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M2090

US Army WWI Transportation Service, Passenger Lists; Lists of Incoming Passengers, 1917-1938; Lists of Outgoing Passengers, 1917-1938

The Holyoke Telegram-Telegraph (Holyoke, Massachusetts) * 7 Nov 1972, Tue

Burns family tree on

The Aerodome Forum, WWI Aviation, Other WWI Aviation, 43rd Aero Squadron, AEF, information about the 19th Fighter Squadron U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.




Posted on

March 25, 2022

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