Julia Mansel Bennett (nee Lord)
20th September 1933 – 17th October 2022
Petty Officer WRN Signals served 1952–59
Julia was born in 1933 in Aberystwyth in West Wales one of 7 children to her parents. They later moved to Garstang, Lancashire where her father was a local doctor.
Julia was sent away to boarding school at the age of 7 – travelling by train alone to Casterton at Haworth showing her resilience at a very early age.
Julia joined the WRNS 4th March 1952 aged 19 after working for a short time in a Bookmakers shop.
Julia went to HMS Dauntless for basic training then to HMS Mercury for signals training followed by various postings to HMS Sanderling(Abbotsinch in Scotland) arriving in September 1952 to October 1954, followed by HMS President (London) to July 1955 where she was promoted to Leading WRN. The abroad to HMS Lascaris (Malta) from August 1955until December 1956. HMS Heron (Yeovilton) in March to October 1957then finally to HMS Rooke November 1957 (Gibraltar) as a Petty Officer Wren where she later met Thomas Bennett (Tom/Jock) who was serving in there in the Army.
Tom was playing drums and singing in a band and taught her how to jive that first night they met. They married 9 months later in Gibraltar Cathedralon April 30th 1958. The following year their first child was born, in Gibraltar Royal Naval Hospital in June 1959.
They returned to the UK and were stationed in Hampshire, where the second child was born in 1961, a son, Robert.
In 1962 the family were sent on another foreign posting, this time to East Africa, Dar-Es-Salaam, but whilst there was a mutiny in January 1964 and Tom was taken hostage being held at gunpoint. Julia and the 2 children were told to leave their accommodation immediately and to head to the airport for immediate evacuation, with the clothes they were in and what they could carry – given time to pack only nappies and photographs.
The third child Lindsay was born in Oxford 1964.
The final overseas posting quickly followed in 1965 the family head to Cyprus for three years
Julia loved to travel and her and Tom re-visited their old stomping grounds of Gibraltar and Malta, having spent many a time aboard cruises seeking old and new pastures. They also loved visiting Las Vegas whenever they could.
In April 2018 they celebrated their 60 Diamond Wedding anniversary with a celebratory party with their family and friends.
Julia’s physical health was not good for several years following 4 hip replacements and later developing heart failure. After number of hospitaladmittances, Julia was admitted to The Angela Grace residential care homeNorthampton where she remained until her death.
She leaves three children, Claire, Rob and Lindsay, and her much loved grandchildren: Thomas, Daniel, Rebecca, Jess and Ben. Eight of Julia’sfamily members have also served in the RN demonstrating the family’s close and long-lasting connections to the Senior Service.
Source: Claire Guest (nee Bennett) Daughter
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