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Clyde Bennett

Birthplace: Hutchinson, Reno County, Kansas, United States
Death: January 19, 1942 (40)
150 miles east of Cape Hatteras, Dare County, North Carolina, United States (Sunk by a German U-Boat)
Place of Burial: Lost At Sea
Immediate Family:

Son of James Bennett and Ada Barbara Bennett
Husband of Hannah Lilly Bennett-Teatsworth
Father of Robert Bennett; Martha Eleanor Smith-Blakely; Levy James Bennett; Charles Clyde Bennett; Private and 2 others
Brother of Earl Bennett; Murt Bennett; Agnes George; James B. Bennett, Jr.; Hazel George and 2 others

Occupation: Construction
Managed by: John Charles McCracken
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Clyde Bennett

Clyde was on the Canadian liner Lady Hawkins that was sunk by German U-66 150 miles east of Cape Hatteras. He was a construction worker on passage aboard Lady Hawkins from Boston to Bermuda to work for the McGraw Construction Company in building a naval air base. Son of James B. and Ada Barbara Bennett; husband of Hannah Lily Bennett, of Industrial City, MO.


In January 1942 Lady Hawkins sailed from Montreal for Bermuda and the Caribbean. She called at Halifax and Boston, and by the time she left Boston she was carrying 2,908 tons of general cargo and 213 passengers as well as her complement of 107 officers, crew and DEMS gunners. At least 53 of her passengers were Royal Navy and RNVR personnel, and at least another 55 were civilians, including at least 15 from the British West Indies and four from the USA.

On the morning of 19 January 1942 the ship was sailing unescorted about 150 nautical miles off Cape Hatteras, taking a zigzag course to make her more difficult to hit, when at 0743 hrs U-66 commanded by Korvettenkapitän Robert-Richard Zapp hit her with two stern-launched torpedoes. The liner sank in about 30 minutes.

Three of her six lifeboats were damaged, but the other three were launched. One was commanded by her Chief Officer. It had capacity for 63 people but managed to embark 76 survivors. Its occupants could hear more people in the water, but could neither see them in the dark nor take them aboard the overcrowded boat if they had found them.

The boat had no radio transmitter and very limited rations of drinking water, ship's biscuit and condensed milk. It shipped water and needed constant baling, but it had a mast, sail and oars and Chief Officer Percy Kelly set a course west toward the USA's Atlantic coast sea lanes and land. The boat was at sea for five days, in which time five of its occupants died. Then the survivors sighted the US Army troopship USAT Coamo and signalled her with a flashlight. Coamo's Master misread the flashes as an enemy submarine preparing to attack, and was going to continue without stopping. It was only when the survivors shone the light on the boat's sail that he correctly understood their signal. Coamo rescued the boat's 71 surviving occupants, landing them at San Juan, Puerto Rico on 28 January.

Of the three lifeboats launched, only Chief Officer Kelly's was found. Including the five who died in that boat, a total of 251 people from Lady Hawkins were lost. They were the ship's master Captain Huntley Giffen, 85 other members of the crew, one DEMS gunner and 164 of her passengers, two of whom were Distressed British Seamen (i.e. survivors from previous sinkings). The 71 survivors whom Coamo rescued were Percy Kelly, 21 crew and 49 passengers.

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Clyde Bennett's Timeline

October 2, 1901
Hutchinson, Reno County, Kansas, United States
January 19, 1942
Age 40
150 miles east of Cape Hatteras, Dare County, North Carolina, United States