Harold Bennett (1898-1981)

From Historical Hastings

Harold Bennett was born in Hastings, the son of a butcher - William Bennett and his wife Annie. His childhood was spent at 15 Wellington Place with three siblings[1]. Upon leaving school at the age of 12, taking an apprenticeship at a jeweller's[2]. Following this, he toured America with a circus, returning to England to teach English at the Working Men's College, London[3]. Serving during WW1 as a courier with the 2/1st Essex Yeomanry, first on horseback, then on a motorcycle[2]. According to one source, he organised bus tours of the battlefields following the war. He would appear to have started acting following this, ending up as Stage Producer in the Tower Theatre, London[4].

A career as a draughtsman soon followed, then a return to acting. His wife, passing away during the 1930s, they had three children[4]. He is best known for his character 'Young Mr. Grace' in 'Are you being served?'. Other roles include the recurring character Mr. (Sidney) Blewitt in Dad's Army from 1969 to 1977. Bennett died of a heart attack on 11 September 1981, aged 82.[5] Other roles include Archdeacon Pulteney in The Stalls of Barchester, the 1971 BBC A Ghost Story for Christmas broadcast 24 December 1971 and adapted from the M.R. James story of the same name. Bennett appeared in several films, including an old man in Vote, Vote, Vote for Nigel Barton (1965), a photographer in Games That Lovers Play (1970) and as Lord Tryke in The Ups and Downs of a Handyman (1975). On the stage, he appeared in a Royal Shakespeare Company production of London Assurance, and in an Open University production of Chekhov’s The Three Sisters[4].

Harold's father William appeared as a witness in the trial of Captain Henry Windus of Hollington, who faced a charge of "Furious Driving" in 1877. The Captain was found guilty and fined £1 but declared that he would appeal the sentence[6]

References & Notes

  1. UK Census 1901
  2. a b Harold Bennett | Dad's Army Wiki | Fandom, accessdate: 16 January 2021
  3. Harold Bennett - Wikipedia, accessdate: 16 January 2021
  4. a b c Harold Bennett - Found a GraveFound a Grave, accessdate: 16 January 2021
  5. Webber, Richard (1998). Are You Being Served: 25 Years. London: Orion. p. 73; ISBN 0-75281-7957.
  6. British Newspaper Archive Hastings & St. Leonards Observer 28 July 1877 Pg. 0006