James Edward ‘Jim’ Bennett was born at Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England in 1889, the only son of Herbert Edward Bennett, a printer and compositor, and his wife Maria Jane (née Springthorpe). He had an older sister Mary (May) and while he was still an infant, the family moved to 79 Craddock Street, Little Bolton, Bolton, Lancashire. By 1902 Jim’s father had either died or his parents had divorced, because in late 1902 his mother married Alfred Brown in Nottingham.
In 1915 Alfred Brown, Maria Jane and her daughter May lived at The Star Hotel, Bradford, Yorkshire, where Alfred was the proprietor. Whether or not Jim was legally adopted by Alfred Brown is unclear, but he began to use the surname ‘Bennett-Brown’ sometime after his mother’s marriage to Alfred Brown, although his sister continued to be known as May Bennett.
In 1914 Jim Bennett-Brown married Florence Maud Lowe and the couple lived at 41 Albert Road, Waterloo, Lancashire.
He served as a first class waiter in the Stewards' Department on board ship and appears in Cunard records as Edward Bennet Browne. He was killed as a result of the torpedoing, aged 26 years, although Cunard Records are again incorrect as they state that he was aged 29 years.
His body was not recovered and identified afterwards and as a result his name is embossed on the Mercantile Marine Memorial at Tower Hill, London.
When his will was proven on 26 June 1915, administration was granted to his widow and his effects amounted to £101-10s-0d (£101.50). Also The Liverpool and London War Risks Insurance Association Limited granted a yearly pension to his wife to compensate her for the loss of her husband which amounted to £45-4s-8d (£45.23) which was payable at the rate of £5-15s-5d (£5.77) per month.
Probate Records and those of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission both omit the final 'e' in Brown, although the Commission also records his surname as Brown and not Bennett-Brown.
Florence Maud Bennett-Brown died in Crosby, Liverpool, in 1966, aged 86 years.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1891 Census of England and Wales, 1911 Census of England and Wales, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, Liverpool Echo, Probate Records, PRO BT 334, UniLiv. PR. 13/24