Corporal Alfred Dennison, 268th Siege Bty. Royal Garrison Artillery. No. 88518.
Alfred was born in early 1880 and registered at Knaresborough. Mother Sarah Denison who was a housemaid/servant. He was baptised at St Robert's church, Pannal on June 13 of the same year.
He was 1 year old in 1881 and living at 3, Burn Bridge Row. At some point Sarah married William Halliday. In 1891 Alfred was ten years old and living at 33, Lane End, Baildon with parents William and Sarah Halliday. William was a general labourer.
In 1899 he was apointed as an auxiliary postman at Shipley. By the 1901 census he was twenty years old and boarding with Robert and Hannah Senior at 1, Well Croft, Shipley. Robert and Alfred were both postmen. Alfred had been appointed as a postman at Oakworth in the same year.
On September 22, 1906 at Baildon Wesleyan Chapel, he married Mary Hannah Mann, a 28 year old woollen weaver of 1, West Grove, Baildon. Alfred was 26 and living at 2, Mount Pleasant in Baildon and was a postman. By 1911 they had moved to 3, Apsley Terrace, Oakworth, Alfred was still a postman and they had a daughter Marion, aged three born on September 8, 1907. They had two more children, Edith, born on December 31, 1912 and John, born on February 10, 1915. All three were born at Oakworth.
Keighley News, Saturday 22nd August 1914, page 5:
OAKWORTH POSTMAN'S EXPERIENCE.
The authorities are very watchful of the movements of anyone acting in a suspicious manner at present. Mr. Alfred Dennison, an Oakworth postman, can testify to this vigilance, for while spending a holiday in the Wetherby district he happened to make a few personal notes outside the racecourse when information was given to the police that he was a spy. Mr. Dennison was followed to Collingham and there arrested. He was released after a short time, for he was able to prove himself innocent of any ulterior designs by producing a Postman's federation badge.
Alfred attested with the Royal Garrison Artillery at Haworth on December 8, 1915 aged 35 years and seven months. He was mobilised on May 29, 1916 and in training until July 17, 1917 when he embarked for France, arriving there on July 18. He received a gunshot wound and was admitted to Queen Alexandra's Hospital in London on December 11, 1917. Some time after returning to his unit, he was killed in action on May 29, 1918 . He is buried in grave 10, row A, plot IV of Canada Farm Cemetery in West Vlaanderen, Belgium. The family inscription on his grave reads: 'Ever Remembered.'
The cemetery is less than half a mile away from where he was killed.
Keighley News Saturday June 8 1918: WORTH VALLEY
News was received on Tuesday of the death in action of Corporal Alfred Dennison, of Apsley Street, Oakworth. Before enlistment Corporal Dennison was a postman, and was well known for his general demeanour. He was a teacher and worker in connection with the Wesleyan Church, and was an Esperantist. Joining the Royal Garrison Artillery on May 29, 1916, he had the misfortune to fall on the same date last month, after serving exactly two years.
His section commander, Lieutenant W. J. Edmondson, in the course of a letter conveying the sad news, wrote:
"The battery had been in action all day, and we were nearing the end of the shoot when a large gunshell fell a few yards to the rear of your husband's gun, causing his instantaneous death.
I had his body brought back to the rear and arranged a burial service in his honour, at which all the officers and men attended. We buried him in a peaceful spot behind the lines, and steps are being taken to erect a tombstone. Your husband was loved by all the men in the battery for his cheerful manner and the heroic way he faced death. Personally I feel the loss of his service more than I can express, as he was most reliable in his work and always ready for action."
Corporal Dennison leaves a widow and four children.
Extract of the War diary entry for 3 Brigade Heavy Artillery (no. 268 was one of the gun batteries).
Map reference: SW28.a.10.b.5.5. (This puts them about a mile to the SSW of Woesten, near to Ypres.)
Weather fine and bright. Four successful aeroplane shoots were fired by 21 SB (Siege battery) 250 rounds fired), 15s SB (200 rounds), 88 SB (250 rounds) and 268 SB (320 rounds)
In the last of these shoots the gun detachment of one gun was knocked out and the shoot had to be finished with three guns. A GF call was answered in the evening by all batteries on some Motor Transport. Four concentrations were fired and a large number of neutralisations. Harassing fire was maintained.
2 OR's killed, 3 wounded. 268 SB. These two men were 88518 Corporal Alfred Dennison and 131192 F. Wrigley.
1 OR wounded 88 SB.
1 OR killed, 1 wounded 48 SB. The man killed was 100593 Gunner T. G. Lewis.
1 OR killed 152 SB. The man killed was probably 141279 Gunner Sydney Bratherton (although his date of death is given as 1/6/1918.)
Alfred was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal for his war service.
He is remembered on the Oakworth War Memorial and on the Keighley Post Office Memorial at the sorting office on Oakworth Road in Keighley and in the Post Office Fellowship of Remembrance books.
Birth, Marriage and Death records.
Census records for 1881, 1891, 1901 and 1911.
British Postal Service Appointment Books, 1737-1969.
British Army Service Records, medal rolls.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Post Office Fellowship of Remembrance.
Keighley News - newspaper archives held at Keighley Library.
National Archives war diary WO95 297/3 for 3 Brigade Heavy Artillery.