Benjamin’s family lived in Botley Road, Oxford, and he was 17 when war broke out. He went to France in 1916 and fought at Passchendaele in appalling mud.
Born in Oxford
Benjamin Arthur Tyler was born in Oxford in 1897. His father was a manager in a joinery works and the family lived in Botley Road. In 1911 he was at school, and he would have turned 17 around the time that war broke out.
Too young to serve overseas
Benjamin joined the 2/4 Battalion of the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. At 17 he would have been just old enough for this Territorial unit, but still two years too young to go overseas. It may be significant that Francis Liddell, an older man linked to Wesley Memorial, was a Company Sergeant Major in this battalion (he is also on the memorial).
The battalion went to France in May 1916, and in July it took part in a disastrous attack north of the Somme, when casualties were heavy and little was gained. It may have been at this time that Benjamin became a Lance Corporal.
The unit did not return to front line action until early 1917. Then in August it was at the Battle of Passchendaele, fighting in appallingly muddy conditions due to unusually high rainfall. On 22 August the 2/4 Battalion managed to capture a farm after the garrison of fifty men surrendered in the afternoon, and then they pushed on. Benjamin was killed on this day, aged 20. His body was recovered and he has a war grave in Tyne Cot Cemetery.