John (Jack) Joseph Dean was born on 19th March, 1897 at 23, Charles Street, Chester, and the eldest of three children to John Dean and Mary Philhelmina (Davies). He was a nephew to Private Samuel Dean.
In 1901 the Dean family were living at 18, Romily Street, Manchester, and 10 years later they were living at 12, Brampton Street, Newton Heath, Manchester; Jack’s occupation was given as “learning in cotton factory.” He eventually became a silk spinner and remained unmarried.
Jack’s mother took ill and was admitted to the Winwick County Asylum in Warrington, where she died of “general paralysis of the insane” on 11th January, 1915, aged 40. She was buried in All Saints churchyard, Newton Heath, Manchester.
By September 1916, Jack and his two brothers, George and Thomas, had been taken in by their aunt, Mrs Katie Jones, of 74, Duke Street, Flint, who became their next of kin. On 25th May, 1917, at the Royal Infirmary in Chorlton-upon-Medlock, their father, John, died aged 42, of “cirrhosis of the liver and heart failure.” He was buried with his wife.
Jack’s army service record revealed he enlisted in Flint on 1st November, 1915 with the 3/5th Royal Welsh Fusiliers Territorial Force, No. 3461, and he was discharged for re-enlistment on 19th March, 1916 with the Regular Army of Royal Engineers, No. 130561, at 6d per day. Sometime in 1917, he was tested in the Railway Operating Workshops in the field, and proved he was proficient at locomotive cleaning; raised to skilled rate of pay, 3rd July, 1918.
On enlistment he was 5ft 2ins, chest 32 3⁄4ins, his physical development was good and his vision was adequate; his personal effects sent to his next of kin were: gold ring, waist belt, watch & chain, £6 in English money and about 160 Francs.
He died on 9th January, 1919 after he was admitted to No. 12 Stationary Hospital, France, on 3rd January, suffering from influenza and bronchopneumonia. Military service was considered to have aggravated the condition from which he died.
He was buried in the St Pol British Cemetery, St Pol-Sur- Ternoise, Pas de Calais, France (Plot II, Row E, Grave 2) and is remembered on three war memorials: Flint Town, St Mary’s Parish Church, Flint and Oddfellows Hall, Flint. He is also commemorated on the North Wales Heroes Memorial Arch, Bangor.
Jack was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal.
The following is a letter his aunt wrote to the Royal Engineers Record Office at Tavistock Square, London dated 24th January, 1919:
Will you kindly let me know who Sapper J J Dean WR253215 let 130561 has made his will for as I note by the form you have sent notifying us of his death that it is addressed to his brother G Dean whom is now serving with His Majesty’s Forces in Russia & if he has made his will for him it will make it very inconvenient to get different documents signed by him. I have seen his Pay Book when he was home on leave & he drew my attention that he had made everything for me. An early reply will be appreciated by
Jack’s brother Thomas was born in Newton Heath, Manchester, in 1912 and in World War 2 served as a Gunner, No. 1457646, with the 85th Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery and died on 1st October, 1943 whilst a Japanese prisoner of war, working on the infamous Burma–Siam railway. He was buried in the Chungkai War Cemetery, Kanchanaburi, Thailand.