Francis Bennett-Goldney FSA MP born EVANS 1862 - 1918
Born 9th August 1862
Died 26th July 1918
Francis was appointed as Athlone Pursuivant of the Order of St Patrick in February 1907 and has been mentioned as a possible suspect in the theft of the insignia of the Order, known as the Irish Crown Jewels, in July 1907.
From at least 1899 to 1913, Francis was the honorary curator of Royal Museum and Art Gallery in Canterbury. He served as Mayor of Canterbury, 1906 – 1911. He was elected as the Independent Unionist Member of Parliament for Canterbury at the general election of December 1910; he had stood at the January 1910 general election, narrowly failing to defeat the Conservative MP. In the years leading up to the war, he frequently spoke of the threat posed by Germany, and never wavered from his opinions despite criticism. He was also highly active in the service of aiding refugees in the early days of the war. His family home, Abbot's Barton in Canterbury, was used as a VAD hospital.
He joined the British Embassy in Paris in October 1917 as honorary assistant military attaché. He was promoted as a temporary major on the General List on 13 May 1918. He died 26 July 1918 in an American hospital in Brest from injuries sustained in a car accident. He was buried at St Germain-en-Laye, near Paris.
Bennett-Goldney is commemorated on Panel 8 of the Parliamentary War Memorial in Westminster Hall, one of 22 MPs that died during World War I to be named on that memorial. He is also one of 19 MPs who fell in the war who are commemorated by heraldic shields in the Commons Chamber.
Following Francis’ death, it was discovered he was a chronic thief, his home filled with stolen items, including a painting which was the property of the Duke of Bedford. His estate was subject to legal action to retrieve some of his thefts from the City of Canterbury Museum and Library.
See also: The History of Parliament Blog - MPs in World War I: Francis Bennett-Goldney (1862-1918) and Wikipedia