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This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
Westminster Abbey, Order of Memorial Service for the Right Honourable Richard Bedford, Viscount Bennett
4 July 1947, 20th century
24 x 15 cm
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum

Keys to History:

Retirement for a former prime minister is not quite the same as that for ordinary people. Speeches, committees, boards, social engagements and dozing in the House of Lords were regular features of the last years of Viscount Bennett's (1870-1947). One evening in late June 1947, Lord Beaverbrook (1879-1964) called on the Viscount; but since his old friend did not feel well, he kept the visit short. Bennett's butler last saw his employer as the old gentleman opened his Bible to read, as was his habit.

The next morning, Lord Beaverbrook received a call to go at once to the Bennett mansion. Only upon arriving did he learn the reason for his summons. When the butler went to wake his master, he found Bennett's little dog, Bill, curled up on a bed that had not been slept in, and heard water running in the bathroom. Viscount Bennett, former Prime Minister of Canada, was found dead in his bathtub.


A physician told Lord Beaverbrook that the cause of Viscount Bennett's death might have been a heart attack.


Viscount Bennett was buried in the churchyard of St. Michael's Church, in the village of Mickleham.


Viscount Bennett was buried on June 30, 1947, with the Westminster Abbey Memorial Service being held a few days later.


Viscount Bennett bequeathed a large collection of gold and silver presentation pieces, a portrait, uniforms and gowns, and other smaller items to the New Brunswick Museum.

© Musée McCord Museum