Denne, Sydney

Sydney Denne’s birth was registered in Hawarden , born in the December Quarter of 1917, (Flintshire (Mold) HAW/22A/98), the son of Walter John and Margaret Denne (nee Thomas), who I believe, married in Pontypool in the June Quarter of 1905 (Pontypool Vol.  11a Page  307).

Sadly it seems that Margaret died in 1923, although I think I have a sight of the family on the 1911 census living at 65, Mumforth Street, Flint.   Walter, 33 was a Steel Worker (Galvanised Sheet Mills) and he tells us that he had been married for 6 years to Margaret, 31, who tells us that 3 children had been born to them and they were still living.   They had been born in Llanfrechfa, Monmouthshire and Llangenny, Brecon respectively.   The three children were Vera, 5, Harry, 3 and Rita, 1, all born in Sebastopol, Mon.

I found that Walter John Denne was in WW1 and had been examined at Shotton on the 29th Day of August 1914, he was age 34 years and 8 months and was an Ironworker.    He was 5 feet 8 and ½ inches tall.  His chest measurement was 35 and ½ inches and had a range of expansion of 2 and ¼ inches.  His complexion was “Dark,” eyes “Brown” and hair “Brown.”   He was “C of E.”   He had been born in LLanfrecfa, Monmouthshire.   Then on the same sheet he was found medically unfit for further service on the 12th October 1914.    If anyone wants the documents, please contact the website.

To prove Margaret’s death at age 43, would mean that the certificate would have to be purchased to confirm or deny (Chester Vol. 8a Page 466) in the March Quarter of 1923.

I then believe that Walter John remarried to Mary Jane Thomas in a Civil Marriage in Hawarden in the December quarter of 1929 (Flintshire (Mold)HAW/11/25).  Again the certificate would have to be purchased to confirm or deny.

I found  Walter John Denne and Mary Jane living at 24 Fairfield Road, Queensferry, Flintshire, Wales on the 1939 National Register which was taken on the 29th September 1939, the war having been declared on the 3rd of September.  Walter’s date of birth was given as the 10th October 1877 and he was a Kitchen hand at  the N.A.A.F.I., Sealand.   Mary J.’s date of birth was the 4th March 1870 and like most married women on this register was doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.”                Margarite Denne (Williams)*gave her date of birth as the 18th Feb 1910 and also doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties, but was single.   Frances               Denne (Lindley)** was born on the 28th Jun 1912 and  was single and an Artificial Silk Reeler.    Ronald W G Denne, born on the 17th Sep 1914 was a Steel Sheet P??., Heavy Worker.

* Margarita Denne married Ralph T. Williams in the September quarter of 1942(Flintshire (Mold)HAW/16/42)

** Frances Denne married in the September quarter of 1945 to Fred Lindley in St Ethelwold’s Church, Shotton.(Flintshire (Mold)C115/07/E113)

Sydney was missing off this National Register, so it was more than likely he was already in the Naval Service, sadly I know no more, except when his death was on the Naval Deaths, see below.  This source tell us his date of birth, the 24th October 1917 and his cause of death as 2 – Missing – Death on War Service Presumed.  This also confirms his place of birth as Hawarden.

The story of what happened to Sydney is here:_

Navy:    Royal Navy

Type:     Destroyer

Class:     Admiralty V & W

Pennant:             D 53

Built by:                Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. (Govan, Scotland)

Laid down:          2 Feb, 1917

Launched:           29 Oct, 1917

Commissioned: 19 Dec, 1917

Complement:    134

Lost:      19 Oct, 1940 (Lt. Cdr. D. L. C. Craig, RN.) was mined and sunk  Western Europe 15 miles off North Foreland in Thames Estuary, south east England -(Defence of British Waters)

History:                The British finally decided to evacuate their troops from Boulogne. and 200 seaman and marines were sent over on the destroyer HMS Vimy, to organise the port. This was a particularly dangerous task, for German troops had reached within small arms range of the harbour area. The danger was clearly illustrated later in the day – the destroyers HMS Keith and HMS Whitshed were sent into the harbour, where Captain D. J. R. Simson of HMS Keith was killed and the captain of HMS Vimy mortally wounded. Later on the afternoon of 23 May the British finally decided to evacuate their troops from Boulogne. Three more destroyers (HMS Vimiera, HMS Venomous and HMS Venetia) were sent over to take part in the operation, with HMS Wild Swan following close behind.

They arrived at Boulogne at 6.30pm, just after a heavy German air raid that General Nehring claimed disabled three destroyers. The new ships were met by HMS Whitshed outside the harbour. Her commander, E. R. Conder, was now the senior naval officer present. He sent a message to Admiral Ramsey, the overall commander of the evacuations, reporting that he would not risk entering the port without air support. Fifty minutes later, at 7.20pm, with RAF fighters overhead the British flotilla began to enter the port.

HMS Whitshed and HMS Vimy went in first. They were each able to take on around 1,000 men, before withdrawing at 8.20pm. They were then followed in by HMS Wild Swan, HMS Venomous and HMS Venetia. HMS Venetia soon became the only British destroyer to be seriously damaged. Her captain was wounded and she was forced to back out of the port. All three ships became involved in a close range ship-to-shore battle, attacking German tanks with their quick firing naval guns, aiming over open sights at enemies only a few hundred yards away. The situation was made worse when the Germans captured the French coastal gun batteries largely intact, and turned them on the British ships. Despite this, at 9.30 HMS Wild Swan and HMS Venomous left port with 900 men on board between them.

By this point 2,900 men had been evacuated, but there were still 2,200 British soldiers in Boulogne. At 10.30pm an eighth destroyer, HMS Windsor reached the port, and was able to evacuate 600 men, amongst them many of the wounded and a naval demolition party that had first been sent in on 22 May. Finally, in the early hours of 24 May HMS Vimiera made the final trip into Boulogne. By now the fighting had died down for the night, and by 2.45 she had been able to take 1,300 men on board. A total of 4,360 men were rescued. Unfortunately a second destroyer, HMS Wessex, had failed to arrive, and so 300 men of the Welsh Guard had to be left behind.

Casualty List taken from :-

Forenames:        Sydney

Surname:            Denne

Age:       n/k

Rank:     A.B.

Navy:    RN

Official No.:        D/SSX 21950

Ship Name:         Venetia

Lost:      19th October 1940

How Lost:            M.P.K. (hit mine)

Resting:                Plymouth Naval Memorial..(photo)

County/Country:              Devon England

Any information on Sydney especially of his early and teen years would be gratefully received so we can make sure he is not forgotten.    He was obviously loved as his name was put forward to be added to the WW2 War Memorial at Hawarden.

Learn more about the other soldiers on the Hawarden Memorial

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