Was he Dennison or Johnson ?

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AndyJ
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Re: Was he Dennison or Johnson ?

Post by AndyJ »

Thanks, Bertie. I missed that because it was embossed.

Martin-46
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Re: Was he Dennison or Johnson ?

Post by Martin-46 »

Andy, you have raised my suspicions. I have enquired of my cousin whether or not Ethel was ever a nurse.
Also, perhaps Bertie is referring to the portrait pic as being taken in Chester.

AndyJ
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Re: Was he Dennison or Johnson ?

Post by AndyJ »

Martin, No Bertie is right about the military picture. The embossed details are feint but just visible in the bottom right corner.
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Last edited by AndyJ on 14 Jan 2021 14:30, edited 2 times in total.

Martin-46
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Re: Was he Dennison or Johnson ?

Post by Martin-46 »

Yes, I see now. Maybe it is Ethel.

Bertieone
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Re: Was he Dennison or Johnson ?

Post by Bertieone »

I can only think John was visiting, if it wasn't the long shot of being his mother, perhaps Ethel was doing her stint in the Red Cross in or around Chester and wanted to be photographed together to record their wartime service.

Had no luck here,

https://vad.redcross.org.uk/
Bert

Martin-46
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Re: Was he Dennison or Johnson ?

Post by Martin-46 »

Aunty says "Ethel was never a nurse. Perhaps it's Winifred"
Here's a pic of Winifred - likeness is uncanny, but then they were sisters (lady on her right is Annie Stevenson Boughey - her mother).
Can't understand why he should pose with Winifred.
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Martin-46
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Re: Was he Dennison or Johnson ?

Post by Martin-46 »

Having fought a losing battle with Windows 10 for 3 weeks I have now managed to get my new WiFi PC to talk to my new WiFi printer by using a cable. Hence can post a few bits I should have done a while back.
First the Whitley St Sarah Dennison birth certificate

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Next what it's all based on - JFDJ's birth certificate - almost certainly

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JFDJ Death certificate

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Bertieone
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Re: Was he Dennison or Johnson ?

Post by Bertieone »

Martin,

If the nurse is not Ethel with John, any idea why Winifred would be in Chester?

Did Winifred start her nursing career as a Red Cross nurse? I'm no expert in nurses uniforms but Winifred's looks more like a regular nurses uniform, probably later as she looks a little older.

Well done with the certificates, one day they may help with someone looking for Sarah Dennison, daughter of Peter & Catherine.
Bert

Martin-46
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Re: Was he Dennison or Johnson ?

Post by Martin-46 »

Not sure. The trouble is her diary is jumpy and disjointed and there is not a single date mentioned anywhere. She does tell of her nurse training so I will give it a better read tomorrow and see if I can work it out. Since her parents lived in Northop she could well have been just visiting. John had probably pre-booked at the studio and having got togged up, if Ethel wasn't around he took her sister just for company.

AndyJ
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Re: Was he Dennison or Johnson ?

Post by AndyJ »

Martin,

I've been looking at the documents on page 6 again. On the medal roll document Bertie posted (first entry on page) JFDJ is shown as with 2/10 KLR, but that was a document from 1921 so looking retrospectively. Later (second from bottom) his medal card says his date of entry into France was 19/2/15, with the 15 crossed out and 17 substituted. Against the entry for the 1915 Star which is crossed out in blue, it says "Deleted. Did not serve overseas until 19/2/17". This is confirmed in the document below which says he was in France 19/2/17 to 8/2/18, and again 22/2/18 to 12/6/18. He was then posted to officer training (which would have been in the UK) the following month on 7/7/18. This document also says that when he transferred from the Royal Army Medical Corps on 26/7/15 it was to 3/10 KLR.

Some comments on this. 10 KLR (Scottish) consisted of 3 battalions, so 2/10 KLR is the second battalion, and 3/10 the third battalion. Generally the system before the outbreak of war was that the first battalion of a regiment was the one that went on active service, postings overseas etc while the second battalion provided a reserve which could either act as pool of individuals who could be sent forward to reinforce the first battalion when they received casualties, or it could deploy as a front line unit in its own right if it was up to strength and the commanding officer certified it as fit for its role. The third battalion was normally based in a depot in the UK and undertook the training of recruits who once they were fully trained were posted to either the first or second battalion as required. JFDJ would have had some basic military training from his time in the territorial RAMC but would have needed to undergo infantry training to be any use to his new regiment, hence his initial posting to 3/10 KLR. I would have expected this initial infantry training to be no more than 3 months after which he would have gone to one of the active battalions, probably 2/10 as 1/10 were already in France, having sailed there in November 1914 to relieve the British Expeditionary Force. Here's a quote from the Liverpool Scottish Regimental History:
The 2/10th (Scottish) Bn The King's (Liverpool Regiment) served in France and Flanders from February 1917 until its amalgamation with the 1st Battalion in Spring 1918 during the "Manpower Crisis".

For much of 1917 they served in the Bois Grenier Section near Armentières with their operating base in the small town of Erquinghem some few kilometers to the west. Although a relatively quiet sector of the front, there are 45 Liverpool Scottish graves in Erquinghem Churchyard Extension Cemetery, maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. In all there are 680 graves in this churchyard.

Many of those graves result from the company-sized daylight trench raid known as 'Dicky's Dash', named after Captain Alan Dickinson MC, one of three brothers who served with the Liverpool Scottish. The Dicky's Dash raid took place just south of Bois Grenier on the afternoon of 29th June 1917 along the line of the 'Old Bridoux Road' from a point in the British front line known as the Bridoux Salient. It met with determined resistance from the enemy and although successful in gaining a foothold in the German line, met with heavy casualties in the enemy trenches and on the return to the British frontline. The memorial cairn to the men of the 2nd battalion is placed in a landscaped area about 1km south of Bois Grenier

Frank Macdonald, serving in this area with the 2nd Battalion and standing on top of the battalion Headquarters, witnessed the detonation of the mines under Messines Ridge on June 6th 1917, an explosion reputedly heard in London, and heard the gas bombardment of Armentières, both recorded in his diary. The diary describes how the trenches were built up as breastworks rather than dug down into the earth as a result of the wetness of the land, a feature of the area today.

Basil Rathbone, the actor later famous for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes, served with the Liverpool Scottish in this area, and is recorded as being billeted at La Rolanderie Farm near to Erquinghem. He later gained an MC as the Patrols Officer when later serving with the 1st Battalion after the amalgamation in early 1918.

A third battalion (3rd/10th) formed in 1915, based for most of the war at Oswestry, acted as a draft finding and training battalion.
Oswestry of course is only about 25 miles from Chester, so it may be that is where he was stationed at the time the photograph was taken. The other possibility is that it was taken once he knew he was off to France with his unit. This was quite common, in order that the family or sweetheart back in England would have a photograph of their son/boyfriend. It was these same photographs which were published in the local newspapers when they announced the deaths of soldiers fighting overseas.

Obviously the gap in JFDJ's service in France is 14 days, so this is almost certainly a period of leave back in the UK after about a year if France.

I hope this adds a little more colour to that part of his life.

Bertieone
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Re: Was he Dennison or Johnson ?

Post by Bertieone »

Andy,

Erudite as ever, after cogitation, perhaps the studio went to the camp. If they did the photograph would still have received the embossed stamp.

It struck me on first sight of the photograph, the lack of studio props that so often accompany this type of photograph, a chair for the lady, vase of flowers or balustrade.

Setting up at camp would produce a good days business for the studio.
Bert

Martin-46
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Re: Was he Dennison or Johnson ?

Post by Martin-46 »

Thanks Andy for all of that. It is fascinating. It all fits in with what we know.

Martin-46
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Re: Was he Dennison or Johnson ?

Post by Martin-46 »

Bert, have been trying to identify nurse in photo with JDFJ in uniform. Perusing great aunt Winifred's diary. In truth it is not a regular diary (although she may have used her diary in writing it), it is a series of vignettes of people and events not recounted sequentially. Although I said there are no dates in it - there are very few - by chance she has put a date on her nurse training. Below is extract of relevant pages from which it looks like she had a regular nurses training (starting when she was about 23), although on the previous page she said she had earlier attended some Red Cross lectures. The pages make fascinating reading anyway but you see how it jumps around - in the same paragraph she mentions Stoneyhurst (Lancashire) and Northop. It's hard to work our where they were and when. I think Winifred spent much of time from about 194 to 1922 living in the south east so she wouldn't have been around when the photo was taken. My aunt says she knows very little of her parents background. The children were moved around a lot from one home to another as their mother tried to scrape a living. Also below is a photo of Ethel in her wedding kit for comparison with the Red Cross nurse. On balance I think it is Ethel in the photo; she might well have been doing some voluntary nursing as so many did. Photo taken between July 1915 and August 1916.

By the way, do you think the Lilly Johnson who died in Chester was Sarah/Lillian - if so why ?

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Bertieone
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Re: Was he Dennison or Johnson ?

Post by Bertieone »

Martin,

Very interesting reading and pleased Winifred survived what appeared to be the Spanish Flu, it's unlikely Winifred is in the Chester photograph having nursed at Westminster during the suspected time period.

I agree, seeing Ethel in her wedding attire, it has to be her in the Studio photo, yes after, 26/7/1915, Liverpool Scottish and prior to the marriage (lack of wedding ring) 28/8/1916, and of course no stripe, which came a little later.

Initially when I seen the Studio photograph, my thoughts were, what was he doing in Chester. I know he could have been visiting Ethel, if she was nursing there.
Andy has come up with a possible good reason.

Previously to seeing the photo I was trying to find and gather information on Lilly/Sarah's possible death.

There is a death in Chester, 1921, Lily Holdsworth, about the correct age, very longshot indeed.

There's a lack of records available online to go any further with her, at least where I can search. I did check for a Lily Holdsworth in the Chester area during the 1911 census, couldn't find one which may suggest she moved there later.

I notice on John & Ethel marriage cert, John's address being Liscard, also included, Aldershot.

Perhaps Andy with his military knowledge can give us his view on the likelihood John was stationed in Aldershot and may have just been visiting Chester?

Martin, I am not encouraging you to send for any death certificates.
Bert

Bertieone
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Re: Was he Dennison or Johnson ?

Post by Bertieone »

I think I see 129..Aldershot, or is it R9?

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Bert

AndyJ
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Re: Was he Dennison or Johnson ?

Post by AndyJ »

I can't offer anything other than speculation that he might have been on a NCO's cadre at Aldershot, prior to his promotion to Lance Corporal in October. The R9 / 129 issue baffles me. Unfortunately there are no other capital Rs on the page to compare it with, but the vicar forms his capital Bs and Ps quite differently so I wonder about that. But then 129 at Aldershot doesn't make much sense either. There's also something else after the '9' which looks like th, which could apply to either intereptation of the first characters.

Bertieone
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Re: Was he Dennison or Johnson ?

Post by Bertieone »

I done a bit of googling, I came across 129 Field Ambulance, also mentioned R A M C.

Initially I thought it was 129 or R9 at Aldershot, looking again, (at) could be ab, abbreviation of Ambulance.

Further reading which makes little sense to me, 38 Welsh Division which the 129 were attached I think.
Bert

Martin-46
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Re: Was he Dennison or Johnson ?

Post by Martin-46 »

I have a different certified copy of the marriage certificate. It is written in a different hand and it reads quite clearly " Rgt. at Aldershot". Make more sense ?

Bertieone
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Re: Was he Dennison or Johnson ?

Post by Bertieone »

Martin-46 wrote:
15 Jan 2021 19:04
I have a different certified copy of the marriage certificate. It is written in a different hand and it reads quite clearly " Rgt. at Aldershot". Make more sense ?
Yes, settle for that.
Bert

Martin-46
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Re: Was he Dennison or Johnson ?

Post by Martin-46 »

Just to settle any lingering doubts - not that there was much - I did a comparison of his signatures from various sources. Although the J changes, the F is pretty much the same as is the loop on the 'h'. The small 's' is also virtually identical. There is enough similarity to say they were not written by different people.

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