Charles Stuart Benning

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Captain Charles Stuart Benning, D.S.O., R.N. (28 November, 1884 – 7 March, 1924) was an inventive submarine officer in the Royal Navy through the Great War. He died at a young age after the war from intestinal issues that had long plagued him.

Life & Career

Benning gained four months' time on passing out of Britannia on 15 January, 1901. He was appointed to join Ocean in the Mediterranean. In February, 1902 he came down with gastroenteritis – a premonition of his eventual demise.[1]

Benning was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 15 March, 1905. On 19 July, 1905 he was appointed to the scout cruiser Pathfinder, where he remained until he was appointed to Thames for instruction in submarines on 30 September, 1905. On 3 January 1907 he was declared fit for command of submarines. Typically of the time for the submarine service, his command appointments in individual submarines are haphazardly recorded.[2]

Benning was appointed in command of the submarine C 9 in March, 1913 and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander on 15 March, 1913.[3]

On 20 September, 1913, following a strong recommendation from Commander Willis that he receive command of an "E" class boat, Benning was appointed in command of E 5.[4]

Benning was mentioned in despatches for his services in submarines in the early phase of the war, gazetted 23 October 1914. In March 1915, he was thanked for his ingenuity and zeal in designing a collapsible wireless mast for submarines.[5]

Commended for his work in torpedoing and damaging a German auxiliary vessel off the Norderney Lighthouse on 14 April, 1915, Benning was promoted to the rank of Commander on 30 June, 1915. He was awarded a D.S.O. for his work in command of submarines in enemy waters. His service record describes his exploits: "Has made 16 cruises in enemy waters, during [which?] he has repeatedly been in action with zeppelins, seaplanes & anti-submarine craft. On one occasion after torpedoing an armed auxiliary he was forced by sweepers to dive into the German minefield, when his battery was exhausted. On another occasion he was 3 hours in a minefield before sinking another armed auxiliary off Borkum."[6]

Benning was appointed to the submarine K 1 in December 1916, to take command upon her commissioning. Benning was reprimanded following a Court Martial held on 2 August, 1917 for stranding the huge submarine. Another Court Martial was held on 16 January 1918 regarding the loss of K 1, but he was found not to blame in the matter.[7]

On 25 November, 1918, a report from the Commodore Commanding, British Adriatic Force read in part, "Has shown himself an officer of except. ability, who by his tact and practical knowledge to throw off the inelastic & unpractical patrols imposed upon them by Italian authorities, but has persuaded Italian & French sub. services at Brindisi to accept our ideas in matter of submarine work in Adriatic."[8]

Post-War

Benning was awarded the Order of the Crown of Italy, gazetted 22 January, 1920.

Benning was promoted to the rank of Captain on 31 December, 1920 and appointed in command of the depot ship Titania and as Captain (S) in command of the China Submarine Flotilla.[9]

Benning died at Haslar Hospital on 6 March 1924, one day after being admitted for intestinal issues, from thrombosis of his mesenteric vessels.[10]

See Also

Naval Appointments
Preceded by
?
Captain of H.M.S. C 9
28 Feb, 1908[11] – 4 Feb, 1911[12]
Succeeded by
Robert H. T. Raikes
Preceded by
Charles G. Brodie
Captain of H.M.S. C 9
Feb, 1913[13] – 20 Sep, 1913
Succeeded by
John R. G. Moncreiffe
Preceded by
Charles B. Land
Captain of H.M.S. E 5
20 Sep, 1913[14][15] – 1 Dec, 1915[16]
Succeeded by
Harrington D. Edwards
Preceded by
New Command
Captain of H.M.S. J 2
1 Dec, 1915[17] – Dec, 1916[18]
Succeeded by
Martin E. Nasmith
Preceded by
New Command
Captain of H.M.S. K 1
Dec, 1916[19] – 30 Nov, 1917[20]
Succeeded by
Vessel Lost
Preceded by
Kenneth M. Bruce
Captain of H.M.S. Adamant
1 Mar, 1918[21] – Mar, 1919[22]
Succeeded by
Noel F. Laurence
Preceded by
Henry D. Gill
Captain of H.M.S. Thames
7 May, 1919[23][24] – Nov, 1919[25]
Succeeded by
Joseph F. Dunne
Preceded by
Nicholas E. Archdale
Captain of H.M.S. Vulcan
Nov, 1919[26] – 31 Dec, 1920[27]
Succeeded by
Robert H. T. Raikes
Preceded by
Frederick A. Sommerville
Captain of H.M.S. Titania
31 Dec, 1920[28][29] – Mar, 1923[30]
Succeeded by
Charles G. Brodie

Footnotes

  1. Benning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/183. f. 98.
  2. Benning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/183. f. 98.
  3. Benning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/183. f. 98.
  4. Benning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/183. f. 98.
  5. Benning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/183. f. 98.
  6. Benning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/183. f. 98.
  7. Benning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/183. f. 98.
  8. Benning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/183. f. 98.
  9. Benning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/183. f. 98.
  10. Benning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/183. f. 98.
  11. The Navy List. (April, 1910). p. 385.
  12. Benning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/183. f. 98.
  13. The Navy List. (July, 1913). p. 286.
  14. Benning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/183. f. 98.
  15. The Navy List. (January, 1915). p. 353.
  16. Benning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/183. f. 98.
  17. Benning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/183. f. 98.
  18. Benning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/183. f. 98.
  19. Benning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/183. f. 98.
  20. Benning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/183. f. 98.
  21. Benning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/183. f. 98.
  22. Benning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/183. f. 98.
  23. Benning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/183. f. 98.
  24. The Navy List. (October, 1919). p. 917.
  25. Benning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/183. f. 98.
  26. Benning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/183. f. 98.
  27. Benning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/183. f. 98.
  28. Benning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/183. f. 98.
  29. The Navy List. (January, 1923). p. 821.
  30. Benning Service Record. The National Archives. ADM 196/49/183. f. 98.