(Tisbury, 1870-Mere, 1947)

benett stanford 02

John Benett Stanford 

Jean-Claude SEGUIN


Vere Fane (Salisbury, 07/1839-Funchal, 08/05/1894) épouse (Preston, 01/10/1867) Ellen Stanford (Preston Manor, 09/11/1848-Preston11/11/1932). Descendance :

  • John Montague Benett Stanford (Tisbury, 05/02/1870-Mere, 18/11/1947) épouse (Windsor, 04/07/1893) Evelyn Helme (1869-). Descendance :
    • Vere Fane-Benett-Stanford (Tisbury, 03/04/1894-Wilshire, 30/05/1922)
    • Patience Benett Stanford (Hove, 03/07/1899-Londres, 17/03/1904)
  • Etherdred Constantia Fane Benett (1876-1964)


Descendant d'une famille célèbre du Wiltshire, il embrasse la carrière militaire, en 1888 et devient vite lieutenant :

1st Royal Dragoons
Lieut. J.M. Benett Stanford has been transferred from the 3rd Wiltshire, as a 2nd Lieutenant, in succession to Prince Albert Victor Dhuleep Singh.

The Essex County Standard, Colchester, Saturday 13 December 1890, p. 8.

benett stanford 01

"Here is a picture of the Officers of the Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry, taken how many years ago ?
No one has been able accurately to answer that question, but it must have been approximately 45 years.
The names (kindly supplied to us by Major the Hon. Eric Long) are [...] Standing : [...] J. John Barnett"
[debout, 2e à partir de la droite]

The Wiltshire Times, 29 janvier 1938. 

En 1891, il intègre la loge maçonnique "Friendship and Sincerity" (26 février 1891) (Western Gazette, 6 mars 1891, p. 7). Il est également un cavalier éminent. À partir de 1892, il est envoyé dans la péninsule arabique (Aden). Il participe à une mission d'exploration au Kenya dont il reste une trace graphique utilisée pour faire la publicité du médicament "Elliman's Embrocation" :

This picture is reproduced from an instantaneous photograph taken by John Benett Stanford, Esq., of Pyt House, Tisbury, Wilts, at Engatana, about 100 miles up Tana River, when upon an exploring expedition. Most of the patients are Abyssinians and some Somalis, but Elliman’s Embrocation was used for the bruised shoulders of the Zanzibari porters who are great lovers of it, and are always intensely amused at the sight of the white embrocation upon their black skins.

The Illustrated London News, Londres, 14 juillet 1894, p. 58.

benett stanford photo 1894

The Illustrated London News, Londres, 14 juillet 1894, p. 58.

Au décès de son père (Madère, 1894), John Benett-Stanford hérite de la belle demeure que la famille possède sur l'île portugaise et dont il fait les honneurs aux amis de passage :

A few hours' streaming brought into clear view the bold outlines and grassy slopes of Madeira, and the sunny bay of Funchal. I was fortunate in finding, on arrival here, a note from an old friend, Mr. Benett-Stanford, who owns perhaps the most beautiful villa in the island, inviting my friends and myself to pass the morning with him.

CHURCHILL, 1895, p. 9.

En mai 1897, John Benett-Stanford, son épouse et l'un de leurs amis, Mr Peel se rendent en Somalie avec l'intention de trouver les sources de Juba. Il va offrir, à son retour, en octobre 1897, un récit assez détaillé de cette expédition :

A representative of Reuter's Agency yesterday had an interview with Mr. J. Benett Stanford, who has just returned direct from Somaliland, and regarding whose safety anxiety was felt in consequence of the reported massacre of a British expedition in that region. In reply to questions, Mr. Bennett Stanford said-I believe the reported massacre of an expedition by Abyssinians to be nonsense. There are no expeditions in Somaliland to cut up. Mr. Peel, who was with me, is well away to the south. Lord Delamere and Dr. Atkinson are in the neighbourhood of Lake Rudolph. Major Macdonald is on the trade route towards Uganda, and the Cavendish expedition is on the Kikuyu road. The whole story is probably founded on baseless native rumours.
Regarding his own expedition, Mr. Bennett Stanford said-My wife and myself and friend (Mr. Peel) left England in May last for Somaliland, our object being to reach the head waters of the Juba on Janana River, and to get some shooting in a part of the country that is scarcely known. We were also anxious to reach -Sheikh Nussein, a very interesting place built of stone. This was our principal objective point. We travelled via Aden to Berbera, where we got our caravan together, taking with us stores for nine months. After a week in Berbera we went on for about 100 miles with part of our caravan to Ballymerolly, where we spent two or three weeks, and where we were joined by the rest of our escort. The day after their arrival a despatch came out from Berbera with orders from the Political Resident at Aden that we were not to go south of parallel 8 or west of 45, which meant that we were to keep clear of the Abyssinians. Naturally we were greatly annoyed at this, more especially as we knew there was nothing to fear from the Abyssinians. As I had my wife with me I could not well go on in view of this order, but my friend Mr. Peel decided to proceed despite the Resident's warning, and he left us to continue his journey south as originally planned. I have not heard from him since he left us at Farfanya at the end of June, but he is perfectly safe, and there need not be the slightest anxiety regarding him. My wife and myself then turned west, and went into an unknown part of the Hand, and during our four and a half months' stay had some very fair sport. Later, we turned to the west and marched slowly back to Berbera, from which place we came direct home. Everywhere we found the people most friendly. All the Somalis in the interior were armed with Remingtons or Italian rifles, each having 40 or 50 rounds of ammunition For the most part these arms have been imported through Obock by the French, the remainder having been taken from Abyssinians, who had captured them from Italians. We did not come across any Abyssinians.
While in the interior, continued Mr. Bennett Stanford, we came across Noor Bori, a powerful Somali chief, who had just come back from fighting the Abyssinians. He told me that an Abyssinian force under Ras Makonnen, consisting of 3000 armed men, has been raiding down Webbe Shebeyli nearly as far as the 45th parallel. Noor Bori's orders to his men were not to attack the Abyssinians, but to wait until the latter had emptied their rifles and then rush upon them. This they did with great success. The Abyssinian force, he said, was annihilated, only 60 being sent back to carry the news of the defeat. Ras Makonnen, he told me, was himself killed. This disaster had taken place at the end of June, at a spot about 100 miles from where we were at the time. The whole neighbourhood was greatly excited at the possession of so many Italian rifles by the Somalis. These left very little doubt that what the Somali chief told me was correct.
The latest news from Harrar was that an Abyssinian army was on the point of being despatched against the Somalis, who were eagerly looking forward to another fight. I sent full details of this disaster to the British officials at Aden.
Asked, in conclusion, if he had seen anything of the Government expedition under Major MacDonald, which had gone into the interior in connection with Abyssinian frontier questions, Mr. Bennett Stanford replied-So far as we could learn, Major MacDonald's object was to finally settle with the Governor of Harrar questions connected with the Somali boundary, Menelek considering himself ruler of the country right down to Mombasa. Major MacDonald at first intended to go up the Juba, but afterwards changed his plans, and he proposed to go up the Uganda road to Kikuyu, using the railway as far as possible, and to proceed to Lake Rudolph, following Count Teleki's route, afterwards working back again across Somaliland.

Liverpool Mercury, Liverpool, Thursday 14 October 1897, p. 7.

Le Soudan (août-septembre 1898)

Alors qu'il est en Norvège, à la fin du mois de juillet 1898, il est appelé par le Western Morning New afin de couvrir, comme correspondant de guerre, les événements qui se produisent au Soudan. Il va rester sur le théâtre de la guerre des mahdistes. Il reste sur place au-delà de la bataille d'Omdurman (2 septembre 1898). À son retour, il va donner plusieurs conférences "To Khartoum with the Sirdar". Grâce au long compte rendu de l'une d'elles qu'en donne le Warminster & Westbury journal, and Wilts County Advertiser, nous disposons de nombreux détails et en particulier des conditions du tournage du film Alarming Queen's Company of Grenadier Guards at Omdurman, filmé la veille de la bataille : 

A highly interesting and instructive lecture on the recent Soudan campaign was delivered in the Athenaeum on Tuesday evening by Mr. J. Benett-Stanford, who, it will be remembered, acted as war correspondent for the Western Morning News. The lecture, entitled “To Khartoum with the Sirdar," was illustrated by numerous lantern slides of scenes of the battle at Omdurman, photographs of the chief officers, and a cinematographe picture taken by Mr. Benett-Stanford, which was the only one taken during the recent campaign. An interesting collection relics and curios from Omdurman, Khartoum, etc., was afterwards exhibited in the ante-room by Mr. C. E. Southey. The proceeds were in aid of the Warminster Cricket Club, and the arrangements were carried out by the officers and committee of the club. In front of the platform was a group of plants kindly lent by Messrs. Harraway and Scott. There was a fairly large audience, and the clear, lucid, and fresh manner in which the lecture was delivered was greatly enjoyed.
Mr. C. N. P. PHIPPS presided, and in opening the proceedings said he could not imagine why it was considered necessary to have a chairman, because it seemed to him that Mr. Benett-Stanford required no introduction to a Warminster audience. (Applause.) The name of Benett was well known in Wiltshire, and he was sure there were many who, like himself, could remember the fine presence and courtly grace of Mr. Benett-Stanford’s grandfather, Mr. Fane, who was for many years vicar of Warminster (applause)—and to whom among other things they were indebted for that useful county institution at Warminster—the Wilts Reformatory. If Mr. Benett-Stanford had not actually lived in their midst, he was well known to most of them. He had travelled much, had seen the world, and had not moved about with his eyes shut. He had great pleasure in asking Mr. Benett-Stanford to give them account of what he had seen in Egypt, the impression the scenes had left on his mind, and tell them something of the deeds of that Army of which they were so proud. (Applause.)
Mr. BENNETT-STANFORD, who was cordially received, then held the attention of his audience for upwards of an hour with a lecture, graphic in description, instructive in narrative, and interesting in exciting and dangerous personal experiences. They would probably, he said, go away with the impression that he was a very egotistical person, and that he had used the pronoun "I" far too frequently, but they must remember the difficulty of giving account of a campaign without drawing on one’s own personal experience. Having referred to his appointment as war correspondent for the Western Morning News, he said oddly enough Wiltshire had been very largely connected with the Soudan. Another officer of the Wilts Yeomanry, Lord Alec Thynne, was also appointed correspondent to a London evening paper, but he was sorry to say was unable to go through ill-health. He (the speaker) was in Norway fishing when received the appointment, and speedily returned to England. This was about the 25th July, and having made the necessary arrangements he started for the seat of war in the Soudan. On arriving at Port Said the first person he saw was an officer in police uniform, wearing the Burmese medal, whom he recognised as formerly a trooper in the Wilts Yeomanry, by name Broadribb. Of course they were soon friends, and he was most useful to him in getting his goods through the Custom House. In due course he arrived at Cairo, passing en route places that were still fresh in their memories, viz., the battle field of Tel-el-Kebir and the town of Kassasin. He reached Cairo about seven in the evening, and the next morning, as soon as office hours, he interviewed General Grenfel, to whom he was related by marriage, with regard to getting to the front. He was not over promising, he (the speaker) had not a permit from the War Office, but he wired to the Sirdar asking if he could proceed, and Sir Rennell Rodd, who was doing Lord Cromer’s work, and who he had known for some years, also wired to the Sirdar for him. Luckily the telegrams caught the Sirdar after he had been thinking of Atbara or some of his successes, as he was in a good mood, for he wired back "Certainly, come up all means." As he could not leave Cairo that day he occupied his time in buying articles of outfit and engaging a couple of blackguards—(laughter) —of the name of Alley and Hassan, the one called himself a cook and the other a personal servant. These two men were the biggest scoundrels on the face of the earth. Alley stole everything he had and bolted directly he could return to Cairo, and he never saw him again. Hassan, the cook, was never cooking, but occupied himself chiefly in looking down the muzzle of antiquated gun for which he had neither shot, powder, or caps ; yet he laboured under the belief, till he left Omdurman, that he was going to win the £500 and bring the Khalifa’s head to the Sirdar. (Laughter.) On leaving Cairo by the mail train for Assouan he was delighted to find his old friend, Captain Legge, with whom he had travelled from Calais, on board the same train. This was more than lucky for him, as the railway officials had received orders that Captain Legge was to be pushed on to the front with the utmost promptitude. They therefore found special trains awaiting for them wherever they stopped, and everything arranged for their speedy transport. He then gave a graphic and humorous account of his journey to the front. At Luxor, in the front garden of the only hotel, which was more or less shut up, and which was kept by a Frenchman, was the notice "Persons are not permitted to go shooting in the garden." What there was to shoot goodness only knew. The only things he saw were a few lizards and the everlasting Egyptian flea, which was different from the English flea, because they met with it everywhere. (Laughter.) Here, singularly enough, on looking through the visitors' list he saw the names of Lord and Lady Folkestone. Having given some humorous reminiscences of Assouan, and the steamers on the Nile, together with pictures of the place, he said they travelled op the Nile at the rate of two miles an hour to Wady Halfa, where the Soudan military railway started. He described this railway, on which the trains did not travel faster than fifteen miles an hour, and the covered cattle truck provided for the accommodation of the officers with whom he travelled. In due course they arrived at Atbara, which, since our occupation of it, less than twelve months, had grown into quite a large place, and boasted of row of huts jokingly called "Tommy’s paradise row." On the way up he had agreed with a friend in the Cameron Highlanders to take his cook and some food over to a certain telegraph post and have dinner with him. About six o’clock, or just after dark, he proceeded to the telegraph post, but did not find his friend or any one else there, so he went off towards some tents where he hoped to get some information of him. The first tent he went into was pitch dark. He poked his head in and said "Have you seen Cameron, of the Cameron Highlanders ?" "Go away” was the only remark he got. He replied to the man lying in the tent, "I know that voice." "Do you?” he said, "I am Willie Fox-Pitt.” "Oh !” I answered, "I am Jack Benett.” So they promptly lit a candle, and drank success to Wiltshire. (Laughter.) In the meantime he was getting hungry, and went in search of his pal Cameron. The next tent he tried be received "Get out, drat you: I want to go to sleep.” In that case he knew the voice, and replied "My dear Archie, to blazes.” (Laughter.) That, as they would easily see by the name, turned out to be his old pal and friend Archie Morrison. (Applause.) He kindly took compassion on him, and gave him food that night with the regiment. Needless to say, as they were only going to be there a night he did not pitch a tent, but slept on a blanket on the sand. As they could imagine, when one had to be up early and work hard, one naturally went to bed early and slept the sleep of the just. (Laughter.) The following evening he was lucky enough to be permitted to go up the steamer that was taking a detachment of the 20th Fusiliers fo Jebel Royan, where he found the whole force collected, and he immediately reported himself to the Press Censor, Colonel Wingate, D.S.C., who presented him to the Sirdar. Here he came across, for the first time, the other war correspondents, but he would only mention two—Colonel Frank Rhodes, of the Times, who, as they would remember, was wounded at the battle, and Hubert Howard, son of Lord Carlisle, who was representing the New York Herald, and who was unluckily killed by one of our own shells when riding to Khartoum with him (the speaker) behind the Sirdar’s staff. With these two exceptions the whole of the correspondents tried to take a rise out of him by demanding, in somewhat surly tone, what right he had to come to the Soudan, and what paper he represented. His answer to the first question was "By the courtesy of the Sirdar,” and to the second he replied "The Pink ’Un and the Christian Herald." (Laughter.) Whereupon they all left him, but afterwards they made friends when they saw he was not the person to get a rise out of. (Laughter.) After enumerating the Sirdar’s force, and giving description of the march, he said the day before the battle they saw the first signs of the Dervishes. On the morning of the 1st September the whole force arrived at Kerreri, some six miles to the north of Khartoum, and formed into triangle, the Nile making the longest side. The 21st Lancers were immediately thrown out to their front and took up a line of outposts around the Hill Surghan, and the Egyptian Cavalry was to the westward. He rode out to the line of outposts, and found the men dismounted and watching the enemy. As the soldiers could not advance further than their line of outposts they were very anxious that should ride down and see if he could get any nearer the enemy’s position. He went nearer and got to within some 300 yards of their line. They were all chanting the whole time "Allah, Bismallah.” It was a most extraordinary sight to see this large mass of men, the number of whom was estimated at between 50.000 and 60,000, in one great long line, simply sitting down and waiting. Oddly enough they did not fire much at him, only few Remington bullets going over his head. He then rode back to the cavalry main body and found them dismounted resting their horses. About five o’clock in the evening the cavalry scouts were withdrawn, and as nobody knew what were going to be the dispositions of the Khalifa, all the men slept at their post, and half-company watches were kept through the night. He rode round the whole position about six o’clock, and found everybody waiting in grim silence for the events of the night. At 4.30 the next morning reveillé sounded, and everything was got ready for the advance. About 5.15 the 21st Lancers went forward and took up their old line of outposts, when it was soon seen that the Dervish army was on the move. He again went out with the cavalry, and they were only driven in when the Dervish flanks had well overlapped them, and Remington bullets were whistling round their heads in most unpleasant way. The cavalry then retired, and the whole of the Khalifa’s force burst into the view of the British troops over a long low ridge of sand which had intervened between the two positions the night before. Poor Hubert Howard and himself were absolutely the two last people to retire to the British line, as they were so interested in watching the effects of Williams’s battery that was firing over their heads and playing havoc with the advancing Dervishes. The Lecturer then described the undaunted courage of the Dervishes and the terrible slaughter by our artillery and Maxims, while, as the enemy came nearer, company volleys began at some 1,700 yards. Still the enemy came on to within the range of some 700 yards. Among the most peculiar things that he noticed in the battle, which was the first battle of any size or importance where the new Lee-Metford rifle was used, was the extraordinary sound made by the whistling of the bullets as the troops fired company volleys. There was one continual whistle, more like an engine than anything else he could compare it to, going on the whole time. One did not hear the crash of the volleys being fired, but simply this extraordinary hooting noise. Another thing which struck him was the extraordinary noise of the battle, not the shouting of voices, but the noise of the firing. After the enemy’s main attack had ceased and the British troops had ceased firing he saw a flag stuck in the ground some 200 yards from the corner of the triangle, and rode out to endeavour to get it. He had no sooner got it than up jumped a nigger with a spear and came for him. He carefully gave him all the shots he had, but succeeded in missing him each time—(laughter)—and then had to turn tail and hook it—(renewed laughter)—whereupon a sergeant of one of the Egyptian battalions came out to his assistance, fixed bayonet and all. He knelt down, took a steady aim at the Dervish, but greatly to the sergeant’s dismay and the Dervish’s joy, he missed him, whereupon the sergeant tucked his rifle under his arm and hooked it back to the square as hard as ever he could. (Laughter.) The Dervish came on, and Captain Smythe, of the Queen’s Bays, who was A.D.C. to General Gatacre, trotted out and shot him, but not till the Dervish had got his spear in Smythe’s arm. He was close by and bound the wound up for Captain Smythe, and he was astonished to tell them that for simply shooting this man Smythe got the V.C. After relating a number of other interesting incidents of the battle, he said after the Sirdar had ordered an advance, and as he was riding with the Grenadier Guards, he heard volleys going on some distance to his right. He immediately galloped over, and found that General Macdonald’s brigade were having a desperate battle with the enemy. General Wauchope’s brigade were sent over from the left to support them, and arrived only just in time. General Macdonald’s brigade were facing the Khalifa’s black flag. With regard to this flag, he noticed that one man held it up for a good tea minutes, while he had firing at him some 4.000 Egyptian troops and some six Maxim guns at a range of some 500 yards; yet there he stood perfectly still, holding the flag without a shot going near him. Eventually, of course, he was killed, and he (the speaker) rode up with Slatin Bey towards the black flag and found it surrounded with hundreds and hundreds of bodies of Dervishes. With regard to the controversy relative to the treatment of the wounded, he wished to say he did not see a British soldier kill any wounded man, and the Egyptians only killed those who fired at them or in some way showed signs of animosity. A number of views of the battle were then thrown on the screen, which were explained by Mr. Benett-Stanford, and such pictures as the Sirdar mounting his grey charger and being followed by the Khalifa’s black flag taken on the battle-field were received with applause. Proceeding, said he was unlucky enough not to see the charge of the 21st Lancers, which, as they probably knew now, was the first bit of active service they had ever seen, and they did the work well. In this famous charge there were many acts of gallantry, and three V.C.’s had been given for it. The forces halted at Wadi, where they were rested and watered. Immediately after this short rest he was lucky enough to see the Sirdar going into the town, and he joined him behind his staff. He then gave a description of the town and the opening of the prison by the Sirdar, and said they then rode back to the first brigade, which was bivouacked a mile to the west of the town. Here the Sirdar, who was dead beat from his work in the day, simply lay on a rug on the ground and went to sleep. Through the kindness of Freddie Bathurst, whom they all probably knew, the Grenadiers gave him some food that night, and he was a great deal better off than most of the correspondents, who had to go to bed, or rather lie down on the ground, with empty stomachs. He never before, however, tried to sleep with a hungry horse tied on to his arm, and all he could say was that for comfort he did not recommend anyone to try it. (Laughter.) In conclusion he had thrown on the sheet a number of interesting views, the last being a photograph of Major-General Lord Kitchener of Khartoum.
At the close of the lecture Mr. PHIPPS expressed the hearty thanks of the audience to Mr. Benett- Stanford for his instructive lecture.

Warminster & Westbury journal, and Wilts County Advertiser, Saturday 06 May 1899, p. 5.

Il donne la même conférence dans d'autres villes : Downton (mai 1899), Weymouth ([juin] 1899)...

L'Afrique du Sud (octobre 1899-mars 1900 et avril-décembre 1901 )

Le début de la guerre du Transvaal - ou Guerre des Boers -, en octobre 1899, devient vite un enjeu cinématographique. La Warwick Trading Company dispose de trois opérateurs pour couvrir les événements qui se déroulent en Afrique du Sud : Joseph RosenthalEdgar M. Hyman et John Benett-Stanford. De son côté, W.K.L. Dickson, pour le compte de la Biograph, part comme reporter sur le théâtre du conflit. C'est à bord du "Mexican" de la Union Steamship Co.'s, qui transporte également un certain nombre de militaires, que John Benett-Stanford quitte l'Angleterre pour Le Cap, le samedi 7 octobre 1899 :

The Union Steamship Co.'s Mexican, 4,661 tons, Captain Copp in command left for Capetown on Saturday with a large number of passengers and the mails.
Amongst the passengers by the Mexican was Mr. Benett Stanford, the well-known war correspondent of a provincial newspaper.

Hampshire Advertiser, Wednesday 11 October 1899, p. 3.

Il va suivre, principalement, les troupes de Lord Methuen situés dans la zone de Modder River :

Mr. Benett Stanford who is with Lord Methuen's force, dating a despatch from Modder River, November 30th, says : Before the big battle at Modder River Commandant Cronje's courage seems to have failed him, and be retired. A son of Commandant Delarey was killed in the engagement, and the number of Boers who were wounded and killed must have been very heavy.
The scene where the battle took place is a very horrible one. Dead horses are lying about in large numbers.Lord Methuen still continues to improve in health, and the flesh wound which he sustained is rapidly healing.
Despatch riders are daily visiting Kimberley, and we are in close touch with the beleaguered garrison there. For my own part, I firmly believe it is now possible for us to reach Kimberley with comparative ease.
Seventy Boer prisoners were sent on by hospital train to Cape Town to-day.

Royal Cornwall Gazette, Thursday 7 December 1899, p. 5.

Dans un nouveau communiqué, John Benett-Stanford donne des détails sur la bataille de Modder River :

Mr. Benett-Stanford, special representative of the Western Morning News, who is with Lord Methuen's force, sends the following account the battle. Telegraphing from Modder River on Tuesday, says:— Lord Methuen on Sunday afternoon commenced his onward movement from the camp on the northern bank of the Modder River. About three o'clock the whole division was on the march, and advanced some three miles towards the Boer position, which had for its centre a formidable kopje, called Magersfontein. When we halted the naval gunners and the howitzer battery commenced to shell the entrenchments of the enemy on and about the kopje at a range of about three miles. This vigorous cannonade was maintained for about four hours, and the troops bivouacked for the night in the positions which had occupied.
At daybreak on Monday the Highland Brigade, with the Guards Brigade in support, moved forward to make assault upon the kopje, upou the slopes of which we found the enemy very strongly entrenched. This came as a surprise to the Highlanders, who were massed at the foot of the hill quarter-column formation. They were met by a withering cross-fire from the enemy's entrenchments, and there was no time for deployment.
The Black Watch was leading, and in order to give their comrades time deploy they bravely replied to the volleys of the enemy, whose entrenchments were not more than 300 yards away. The brave Scotsmen maintained their difficult position throughout the morning, and, being in their kilts, they formed an excellent mark for the Boers, who were comparatively secure in their strongly-entrenched position. As a result their losses were heavy.
About one o'clock, however, they were ordered to retire, which they did with commendable skill. This movement having been effected, our artillery poured shell into the enemy's position for the rest of the day. In the meantime the Guards had been busy on the right, where the Coldstreams took up advanced position, supported by the Royal Horse Artillery. The hill which these gallant fellows had seized they held until nightfall, the artillery duel meanwhile continuing with unabated fury.
We again bivouacked on the field, with the evident intention of renewing the assault upon the enemy's position this morning.
A further survey of the position, however, showed that the Boers had cleverly chosen a position which they had made too strong to be carried by assault, and the order was reluctantly given for our troops to retire upon the camp at Modder River.
Our loss during the engagement was again very severe, no less than 50 the casualties being among the officers.
The Highland Brigade has to mourn the loss of its gallant commander, Major-General Wauchope.

Western Gazette, Friday 15 December 1899, p. 8.

Toujours en janvier, les lecteurs peuvent suivre la situation à Modder River :

Mr. Benett-Stanford, Modder River, Wednesday, 11.45 a.m., says: — This column has practically relieved Kimberley and Mafeking, as the Boers have come down in full force to oppose Lord Methuen, leaving only a few men and guns to continue the siege. The men had great festivities here on Christmas day. They feasted on plum puddings, and each also had a pint of beer. Last night great excitement was caused by the Boers suddenly opening fire from their position at nothing with a brisk artillery and rifle fire. We could not make out what caused the fire, as no man of ours was beyond the outposts.

Royal Cornwall Gazette, Thursday 4 January 1900, p. 7.

The Grafic publie plusieurs gravures réalisées à partir des photographies envoyées par John Benett-Stanford.

benett stanford 03 benett stanford 04
After the Fighting: the Dead and Wounded into the Train The Armoured Train Going Towards Belmont
to Support the Cavalry
Drawn by Percy F. S. Spence from photographs by Benett Stanford
Colonel Gough, with two squadrons of the 9th Lancers, a battery of Field Artillery, and some mounted infantry, made a reconnaissance from Hopetown and engaged the enemy for three hours. It was in this skirmish that Lieutenant-Colonel Keith-Falconer was killed. The armoured train shown in one of our illustrations went out to support Colonel Gough. After the skirmish the dead and wounded were brought back to camp on the train.
The Graphic, January 13, 1900, p. 51.

Il tourne également plusieurs films qui sont annoncés dans la presse spécialisée par la Warwick Trading Company, en janvier 1901 :

The following are some of the Warwick Trading Company’s new war films of the Modder River engagement, photographed by Mr. Bennett Stanford of the Company’s staff, now with General Gatacre’s column in South Africa: Lancers under the Earl of Airlie fording the Modder River on their return from the Enslin engagement, December 8, 1899; The Hospital Corps attending the wounded on the battlefield after the Modder River engagement; Troop train carrying the Seaforth Highlanders over the Modder River, crossing on a temporary bridge erected in place of one blown up by the Boers, showing hundreds of troops riding in open coal trucks, both ends of the train being guarded by an armoured car and engine ; The (“Fighting Fifth”) Northumberland Fusiliers making trenches at Orange River, South Africa. The passing of an armoured train.

The British Journal of Photography, January 19, 1900, p. 44.

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Repairing Damage Done by the Boers: Mending the Line Near Belmont Science in War: Using the Field Telephone During a Reconnaissance at Belmont
Drawn by George Soper from a photograph by Benett Stanford from a photograph by Benett Stanford
The Grafic, January 20, 1900, p. 80 The Grafic, January 20, 1900, p. 80

C'est en mars 1900 que John Benett-Stanford doit quitter l'Afrique du Sud pour des raisons de santé :

MR. BENETT-STANFORD INVALIDED.-Mr. Benett-Stanford, war correspondent to the Western Morning News, has been seriously ill, and is ordered home from South Africa.

Sallsbury and Winchester Journal, Saturday 10 March 1900, p. 6.

Plus d'un an après, il revient sur le terrain pour quelques mois :

Mr. J. Benett Stanford is under immediate orders to sail for South Africa, where he will join the 1st Royal Dragoons.

Salisbury and Winchester Journal, Saturday 27 April 1901, p. 8.

Il est finalement de retour en décembre de la même année :

LIEUT. J. BENETT-STANFORD RETURNING FROM SOUTH AFRICA.-Among the officers returning from South Africa by the steamer Scott, which left Capetown on November 27th. and is due at Southampton on December 13th, is Lieut. J. Benett-Stanford, Reserve of Officers.

Salisbury and Winchester Journal, Saturday 7 December 1901, p. 6.

Il passe ensuite dans la réserve de l'armée (12 novembre 1902) (The London Gazette, Londres, 11 novembre 1902, p. 7169).

Et après... (1902-1947)

Retiré de sa vie militaire et de reporter, John Benett-Stanford va se consacrer à son domaine familial du Wiltshire. Dans une note nécrologique, le journaliste rappelle certains traits de sa personnalité :

Late Col. J. M. Benett-Stanford
Memories of a Colourful Personality
An Appreciation
A correspondent writes of the late Col. J. M. Benett-Stanford, of Pyt House, Tisbury, whose death was reported in our last issue :
Jack Benett —"Old Jack" as was affectionately known a multitude of friends all walks of life, was a great character with many endearing qualities. Blending with his colourful personality was a most active brain and pioneering spirit. A squire of the old type, he was equally. beloved in White's Club as outside a cottage gate, or on the quayside at Poole. Though some may think his versatile ingenuity occasionally outran discretion, it was always singularly appropriate, and he never harboured malice against anyone. Quick in temper, yes, but his natural instinct was unfailing kindness.
He was a born leader and pioneer. No appeal for the defence of the country went forth during his lifetime without finding him at the front or conspiring somehow to get there. No novel idea or invention likely to improve his estate was passed by without consideration until these days of crippling taxes made such enterprise impossible for the old country landowners. His fertile active mind was never at rest; his interests were countless, and nobody ever got more out of life or more enjoyment there-from. All British sports are pastimes appealed to him but fox hunting always remained his favourite.
He read deeply in the history of his native countryside. If in this reading it so happened some fragment of local tradition took his fancy, he would order his car on the spur of the moment and drive if needs be, miles in search of fresh clues and information. And should one have been fortunate enough to accompany him on such an expedition one could not fail to be fascinated by his interrogation of old country folk in their dialect. They invariably "tuned in" to him, inoculated, it would seem, with his own enthusiasm.
When more active occupations became beyond his capacity he took keenly to yachting and obtained Master's certificate, passing the necessary examinations. He owned first, the converted Thames barge "Volunteer," and finally, the well-known tops'l schooner "Oceana." The former exactly suited his questing temperament and gave him perhaps, some of the happiest days of his life visiting shallow estuaries and little known Continental ports and canals.
Almost every room in his home at Pyt House reflected its owner's love of English craftsmanship. English good taste, and our culture generally. Nothing tawdry appealed to John Benett. He was a shrewd collector of English silver; spoons of provincial mark being his speciality. Historically, his great interest lay in the Carolean period, due to the active part his ancestors played in the Royalist cause, one of them being Military Secretary to Prince Rupert.
Conversationally, he was a source of delight to his friends for he had ready with and lightning repartee. A fountain of information about his countryside, he was always ready with some interesting anecdote about any place one happened to visit in his company. And the countryside too, has many good stories about him— some founded fact; some expanded into the realms of pure fiction.
His kindness and help to those less well circumstanced than himself was very great: but he never spoke of this, and few know the fullness of his charity.
His character was complex and it is not surprising that some never really understood or appreciated him. His outlook was essentially feudal and he was out of tune with present times and tendencies. An old and valued friend his, once remarked, "John Benett was born 300 years too late" to which the writer would add heartfelt gratitude that the good God ordained it so.
Yes, there will be few Wiltshiremen in South Wilts and few Dorset men in North Dorset, who will not miss that old chocolate coloured, red-wheeled. Ford V8. They will always remember it moving slowly along the old squire inside, his strong face mellowed with age and a white beard, waving his benediction to all: stopping, now, to make some original remark to a passer-by again, to ask some provocative question, always terminated his grand smile or full throated laugh, and, for the " Dedecai " woman with her babe, perhaps, a half-crown as well.
The funeral took place in the churchyard of Norton Bavant where his family have been , landowners since the 15th century...

Western Gazette, Friday 28 November 1947, p. 3.


BARNES John [1988], The Beginnings of the Cinema in England, volume 3, 1898, Exeter, University of Exeter Press, 1996, 256 p.

BARNES John, The Beginnings of the Cinema in England, volume 4, 1899, Exeter, University of Exeter Press, 1992, 340 p.

CHURCHILL Lord Randolph S., Men, Mines and Animals in South Africa, Londres, Sampson Low, Marston & Company, 1895, 340 p.



Alarming Queen's Company of Grenadier Guards at Omdurman


Lancers under the Earl of Airlie fording the Modder River on their return from the Enslin engagement, December 8, 1899

The Hospital Corps attending the wounded on the battlefield after the Modder River engagement

Troop train carrying the Seaforth Highlanders over the Modder River, crossing on a temporary bridge erected in place of one blown up by the Boers, showing hundreds of troops riding in open coal trucks, both ends of the train being guarded by an armoured car and engine

The (“Fighting Fifth”) Northumberland Fusiliers making trenches at Orange River, South Africa.

The passing of an armoured train.