Francis Peter Dean was born about 1895 in Saltney, Flintshire. He was the son of Joseph & Catherine Dean and on the 1901 census they lived at 2, Queen Street, Chester. Joseph, 36 was a Stableman and had been born in Christleton, Chester. Catherine, 33, had been born in County Caven, Ireland, (this had been stated on the 1891 census). Their children were Louisa, 12, Bertie, 10, Annie, 8, Francis 6, Lily 4, Charles 2 and baby Joseph, 6 months old. They had all been born in Saltney.
The 1911 census saw the family living at 9, Bridge Street, Saltney. Joseph, 46 was now a Chain Dresser (Iron Worker) possibly at the Chain & Anchor Company. His wife of 25 years, Catherine was 43. She had given birth to 10 children and they all were still living. The children listed in the household were Bernard (was he Bertie?) 21, was single and a Railway Stoker (L.N.W.R.). Frank, 16, was a General Labourer . Lily was 14. Charles 13, Joseph 10, William 8, and Lionel 6 were all at school. Catherine’s brother Patrick Moynagh, 38, single and a General servant was also in the household.
UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk confirms Francis Peter Dean’s regimental details as above and adds that he enlisted in Chester. His British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Card, also on ‘Ancestry’ tells us that his first Theatre of War was the Balkans (Gallipoli) and he entered it on the 8th July 1915. It confirms his medal entitlement as above.
Francis’s Army Service Records have survived (in a big way!). They are accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk There are many duplicated papers for him. It seems that the army actually completed two sets of attestation papers for him which then caused them a lot of confusion, hence all the duplication. His ‘Trade’ was ‘Fireman’ on one form and then ‘Cleaner’ on another. His eye colour was descibed as ‘hazel’ on one form and ‘blue’ on another but there was serious confusion because Francis seemed to have two different regimental numbers allocated to him. (Did the army get two men’s details mixed up?) This was eventually sorted out (all the army internal correspondence is in the record), and he was confirmed as 12599 of the Cheshire Regiment.
He enlisted on the 3rd September 1914 in Chester. He was 19 years and 9 months old. His mother, Catherine Dean of 9 Bridge Street Stonebridge, Saltney was named as his next of kin. He was a Roman Catholic. His vision was excellent and he was deemed fit for active service. He was then listed as a reservist awaiting his call up.
Early in 1915 the Army made further contact with him. The message is very difficult to read but there was a space below for him to respond. This was his reply
Sir, In reply to the above I enlisted in the Special Regiment and sent home on reserve, have had no orders yet, but being a railway man had to apply for reinstatement at the time and am in readiness to be called upon. The Regiment will be R.F.A as a gunner when you call me up . Hoping you will do so as soon as possible. Being the main support of home and my Mother latley dead am in bad position.
Next paper – Written “DEAN to report at once 8th December 1914.”
The Record shows that he joined the Expeditionary Force (Mediterranean) on 26th June 1915 and served in Gallipoli. He was promoted to Lance Corporal on the 26th February 1916 and embarked for Basra in Mesopotamia (Now Iraq) and arrived there on the 28th February 1916. He was killed in action on 21st April that same year.
There is correspondence between the army and Francis’s sister Anne regarding the receipt of his medals, plaque and scroll and his personal possessions. (All there was, was his ID disc). Anne also completed a living Relatives Form in August 1919. This tells us that both parents were dead and that brothers Charles, Joseph, William and Lionel were all still at 9 Bridge Street as was Anne herself. Sisters Louise and Lily were both in the Wrexham area.
It was Anne who completed his index card on the 8th November 1919 for the Flintshire Roll of Honour which is in The County Record Office, Hawarden. (Card Saltney Ferry F9).