Private Benjamin Bland was one of 14 men from Deans Street in Oakham to die in the First World War. He was born in Oakham on 13 February 1896, one of seven children of Thomas and Eliza Bland. The family are recorded on the 1901 census as living in two rooms at 72 Melton Road in the town, before moving to 17 Deans Street. Benjamin was working as a butcher's errand boy in the town in 1911, aged 14. He enlisted into the 5th Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment in Oakham on 27 March 1915, aged 19 years and 42 days. He then re-enlisted with the Machine Gun Corps in July 1916 and was posted to France on 14 August 1916 where he remained on active service on the Western Front until his death. He suffered a slight injury in November 1917 but returned to his Battalion two days later. Benjamin died of wounds on 28 April 1918. He had attended the Baptist Church in Oakham where he appears on the war memorial. He is also on the war memorial in the grounds of All Saint's Church in Oakham. Benjamin is buried in La Clytte Military Cemetery near Ypres, grave V.F.6, along with another soldier from Oakham, George Miller, who was also in the Machine Gun Corps.
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