BENGE, Thomas Charles

No. 827385, Trooper, Thomas Charles BENGE
Aged 28

17th/21st Lancers, Royal Armoured Corps
formerly 15th/19th King's Royal Hussars, R.A.C.
Died of his Wounds on Friday, 19th May 1944

Thomas Charles Benge was born in 1915 (Woolwich Q4-1915 1D:2140) son of Thomas George and Lizzie BENGE (née WARD).

None have been identified in the 1939 register. Possibly his father died in 1930 and it was his widowed incapacitated mother (23-8-1864] and uncle? William T BENGE [4-11-1885] a labourer, were at 6 High Street, Ticehurst, Tunbridge Wells

Thomas C. BENGE married Edith NOBLE (Tonbridge Q3-1940 2A:4207). CWGC have his wife Edith Madeline living in Lidgate.

The regiments that made up the Royal Armoured Corps wore their own regimental badges on the black beret of the Corps.
The 17th/21st Lancers were involved in the actions in Tunisia, sustaining heavy losses in their Valentine tanks against the superior armour of the Panzers. Moving into Italy in March 1944 during the preparation phase for the assault on the Gustav Line, a defensive line running the entire length of Italy and hinged on Monte Cassino. The assault began on 11th May 1944 with the crossing of the River Gari. The 17th/21st moved to their bridge-crossing site 'Amazon' during the night only to find that the bridges had not been laid, due to all the engineer bulldozers having been knocked out. As a result the Regiment were forced to improvise, using their tanks to shunt a Bailey Bridge into position and thus effect a crossing. By the 14th the Corps had achieved nineteen crossings and by the 16th the pressure on the Germans proved so great that they were forced to abandon the Gustav Line. It took the Canadians a further five days to breech the Adolf Hitler Line.

Caserta was the site of No.2 General Hospital.

Valentine tank photo: Wikipedia

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

the view must have been stunning before that office block was built

Thomas Benge is buried in Caserta War Cemetery, Italy, grave 7:D:17

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details