Samuel (Sammy) Dean was born on 30th June, 1870 at West View, Little Lever, Bolton, Lancashire, and was the third of five children to Thomas Dean and Jane (Jones). He was an uncle to Sapper John Joseph Dean.
Sammy’s father, Thomas, was a bricklayer, born in Flint and his trade took him to Bolton for a few years. However, the 1881 census shows that he had returned to Flint with his growing family, where they lived at Haywood’s Court.
Thomas’s Liverpool-born wife, Jane, died on 11th June, 1900, at Castle Street, Flint, aged 63, and was buried in the Northop Road Cemetery.
The 1901 census shows Sammy was employed as a bricklayer’s labourer and lodging at the home of a Mr George Downie and his wife Ann, of 18, Mill Street, Ashton-in-Makereld, Lancashire.
On 14th November, 1906, Sammy’s father died at Sydney Street, Flint, aged 66, and was buried with his wife.
By 1911, Sammy was lodging at the home of a Mr and Mrs John Love at 251a, Florence Terrace, Wigan Road, Bryn, Ashton-in-Makerfield, Lancashire. He was a bricklayer’s labour at a colliery. He was a single man and remained so.
He enlisted in Ashton-in-Makerfield, Lancashire in January 1915 and joined at Berwick-on-Tweed. He landed at Boulogne, France on 12th May, 1915.
Private Dean was killed in action in France on 10th February, 1916 and buried in the Tancrez Farm Cemetery, Comines-Warneton, Hainout, Belgium (Plot I, Row B, Grave 10).
He is remembered on two war memorials: Flint Town and St Mary’s Parish Church, Flint, and was awarded the 1914–15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. He is also commemorated on the North Wales Heroes’ Memorial Arch, Bangor.
Thousands of patrons of football in Flint, Flintshire, several towns in North Wales, Cheshire and in Lancashire, learned, with regret, of the reported death of Private Samuel Dean, of Flint. There was, however, a conflicting condition. Mrs Robert Jones, residing at 74, Duke Street, Flint, sister of Private Dean, said that on the previous Monday afternoon she received a letter from him from France, dated the 11th February, whereas he was stated to have been killed on the 10th February. On the 9th February he received a letter from his brother, who resides in Widnes and, as circumstances have proved, he wrote a reply that day, but which was evidently not posted to leave the field post office. The letter was, however, forwarded to the brother at Widnes, with a covering letter announcing the death. The official notication, however, arrived a few days later.
The letter which Private Dean wrote to his brother on the 9th February said that he had received his welcome letter that morning; that he was very pleased to hear from him, and also pleased to inform him that he was quite well. The weather where he was stationed was not very warm, but in the course of a few weeks they might expect good weather. It was a very nice country in summertime, judging from what he saw and experienced last summer. He had been in the trenches for 5 days, and they were expecting to leave there on the Friday of the same week – if they had luck. The letter, and the following, was received by his brother in Widnes:
SIR,– is letter was sent by Private S. Dean to you on the 9th inst., and he was killed whilst on trench duty on the 10th inst., and I thought the least I could do was to inform you of his death, and his comrades feel for you in your great trouble. And you all have our sympathy.
H.O. BRITTEN, C.S.M.
Private Dean, who was more popularly known amongst the Flintonians as ‘Sammy Dean’, enlisted in the King’s Own Scottish Borderers when he was at Ashton-in-Makerfield, and was immediately sent to the Battalion in the Edinburgh district. After some months’ training in military work he left with the Battalion for France, and July last year he was admitted into one of the Belgian Hospitals, where he said he was treated for an attack of pneumonia. When he had sufficiently recovered to be removed he was conveyed to England, where he was sent to hospitals, one of which was at Ipswich. He subsequently paid a visit to his friends in November 1915 in Flint, and left for Lancashire in order to see his friends there, leaving for France again a fortnight before Christmas. In his younger days Dean had been employed at the Chemical Yard, and when the chemical industry was reputed to be in an exceedingly flourishing condition. In the mid-1890s Sammy Dean was considered to be one of the most expert centre half-backs of the Association Code in Wales. He learned his football in the Borough, and played several seasons with the Flint Town Football Club team. In those days the Association game was increasing in importance in Flint; and Dean was always a great favourite amongst the home spectators and many of whom travelled miles to witness his prowess in leading his side to victory. Though the matches were often invested with much excitement, and the work of players conducted with fearless vigour, Sammy was classed as a clean exponent of the game. The team was known to be one of the best on the North Wales Coast, and frequently took part in the Welsh and English Cup Ties. His services were often hunted after by other clubs, but he remained faithful to his team, and upon one occasion he played in a match of picked 11s representing Wales in the South Wales area. His abilities as a half-back were not ignored by the Welsh Association.
Eventually, Dean left Flint for the mining locality of Ashton-in-Makerfield, near Wigan, for employment; and then he became associated with the team of that town, figuring in matches for the team, and others, throughout Lancashire. The information before mentioned in the letter from his Company Sergeant Major indicates that he has manfully played his last game as a true patriot of his King and Country on the battle field; and his memory will be revered by all those who were acquainted with him.
Sammy’s brother Thomas had a son, also named Thomas, who was born in Flint in 1897, and the family moved to live at 5, Wood Street, Widnes. Thomas junior served in the war as a Private, No. 41466, with the 1/7th Battalion, the Worcester Regiment (Territorial Force). He was killed in action at the Battle of Passchendaele, Belgium on 26th August, 1917 aged 19.
In addition to official notice the following letter has been received by the deceased’s aunt, from her husband, who was in the same company as Private Dean.
I am upset about poor Tommy Dean. As he said to me before going over the top he wished me the best of luck, and I wished him the same, but poor little fellow – it was through trying to save his mate’s life (a St Helen’s soldier) that they both got killed together. His mate, from what I can make out, was on fire. All his ammunition was burning, and he (the deceased) went to get them off, when they both got shot.
Private Dean was called to the colours in February 1917, and was drafted to France in the following July. He was in civil life employed at the Hutchinson Works. As a boy he attended Simm’s Cross School, and was a member of the Boy Scouts. He attended St Ambrose Church.
He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium on Panels 75 to 77, Widnes war memorial and St Ambrose Parish Church, Widnes.