Saturday, 20 November 2021

Ernest Denny (1888-1917) – British schoolteacher and soldier poet

Information about this hitherto unknown WW1 soldier poet has been kindly supplied by Historian Debbie Cameron* 

I am still trying to find poems by Ernest Denny 

Ernest Denny was born on 11th July 1888 in Rillington, Yorkshire, UK. He was the second son of Robert William Denny, a schoolteacher, and his wife, Ellen Hannah Denny, nee Gardner, and his siblings were Charles William Denny, Percy Gardner Denny and John Gardner Denny. By 1901 the family were living in Redditch, Worcestershire, UK, where Ernest’s father was the headmaster of a Wesleyan School. 

In 1911 Ernest became ill and was admitted to a sanatorium in Lowestoft, Suffolk.

Ernest was educated at King Edwards School in Birmingham before going on to study at Reading University from 1913-15. On graduating he became a teacher and taught in a school in Suffolk.

During the First World War, Ernest seems to have joined the Artists Rifles as a Private before being commissioned as a Second Lieutent into the London Regiment and serving with the 15th (County of London) Battalion (Prince of Wales's Own Civil Service Rifles)  on the Western Front.   

Ernest died of wounds on 4th August 1917 and was buried in Dozinghem Military Cemetery, Vleteren, Arrondissement Ieper, West Flanders (West-Vlaanderen), Belgium - Grave/memorial reference: II. C. 10.

Ernest Denny is also rememberd on Redditch War Memorial and on a memorial in Redditch Bates Hill Methodist Church, which is now in Redditch Emmanuel Church

The Ancestry website Probate records:  Ernest Denny of 196 Mount Pleasant, Redditch, Second Lieutenant, 2/5th Battalion, London Regiment, attached to the 17th King’s Rifles. 

According to various websites, Ernest had poems published in an anthology entitled “Galleys Laden: Poems by Four Writers - Ernest Denny, Nora O'Sullivan, C. Doyle, and Gwen Upcott” ("Adventurers All" Series, No. XXIII), and a collection of his own poems entitled “Triumphant Laughter: Poems 1914 – 1917” was published in paperback form in 1978 by Brentham Press, London.


* Historian Debbie Cameron is the founder of the Facebook Group Remembering British Women in WW1 – The Home Front and Overseas