Robert Dennis

Census Address: 6&7 School Terrace
Place of Birth: Stamford
Date of Birth: 1897
Enlistment Address: --
Regiment: --
Service Numbers: --
Place of Death: --
Date Died: --

Robert Dennis – 6 and 7 School Terrace, North Street

Robert, William, May and Amy Dennis

Robert, William, May and Amy Dennis

Robert Dennis was born on 15th Dec 1896 at 4 East Street and baptised in St Michael’s Church. In 1901 his mother worked as a rabbit skinner and stripper at the Skin Factory (near Billings Buildings, High Street). There had been 6 children but 2 died young.

Pictured here are Robert, William, May and Amy in about 1902.

In 1911 aged 14 years, Robert was a butcher’s errand boy living with his mother, a char woman occupying both 6 and 7 School Terrace – 4 rooms in all. Also in the household were William 19 years, May 18 years and Amy 17 years, his niece Winnie 5 months and 2 lodgers.

According to her husband’s military records, Mrs Dennis was illiterate.

The position in the family of Robert’s father is strange. He married Elizabeth Walker, in 1890 however he is not listed with the family in either 1901 or 1911.

In 1911 he seems to be boarding at the Golden Fleece in Sheepmarket where he may have been working as a drayman. His military records show he was in the 4th Bn Lincs Regiment Militia for nearly 8 years but his service had expired in 1911. He attested as soon as the war began and his age was given as 40 years although he was probably 48 years.

His battalion arrived France on 15th July 1915, went into the trenches on 27th and he was killed in action on the 29th. He is buried near Sanctuary Wood and commemorated on Stamford War Memorial. His belongings returned to his widow make poignant reading – 3 photos, a comb, a tin, a pack of correspondence, a spoon, a jack knife and a ‘housewife’ (sewing kit).
Shortly before his father was killed, the Stamford Mercury reported that Robert had been recruited into the 15th Bantam Regiment of the Sherwood Foresters (Nottingham Regiment). It seems likely that his wartime service was the same as that of his neighbour Charles Hall of 9 School Terrace who was recruited at the same time. He would have trained at Masham, Yorkshire and on Salisbury Plain before going to France in February 1916 to fight in the Battle of the Somme.
In December 1916 further medical inspections were given to Bantams and many were transferred to the Labour Corps where Robert served. At some stage he was wounded in the shoulder with a bayonet and had shrapnel in his hand and back. When he was discharged in 1919 he was with the Home Service Employment Company. He was awarded the British and Victory medals.
In May 1919, Robert had returned home to School Terrace living with his mother and sister May (Newbold). His sister Amy (Parr) was living at 53 North Street and his brother William (who had served in the Lincs Regiment) was living in Collyweston.

Ursula BellamyIn July 1919 he married Ursula Bellamy whom he had met while he was hospitalised in Grantham.
She had served in the Royal Flying Corps making wings for planes. In September 1919 his mother remarried to George E Lowe.

Robert and Ursula had 7 children but 2 died as babies and a son was killed in 1943. At his marriage Robert was a moulder in an engineering works but he went on to have several different jobs working for Markos in Grantham in WW2 and finally for the Council.

He died on 18th May 1965 aged 68 years.

Thanks to Robert’s daughter Brenda Mee for details and photos of her family.