Welcome to my blog......

The purpose of this blog is to remember the fallen heroes of the Great War, whose names are recorded on the memorial plaque situated in St Barnabas Church, New Whittington, Chesterfield.

To mark the centenary of World War 1 I aim to research all of the men on the memorial. I hope to ensure that the brave men who gave their lives for their country 100 years ago are remembered and each man's story told.

I would love to hear from anyone who may have information regarding the men; photos, letters or passed down memories. Any descendents are most welcome to contact me and I will provide copies of the research that I have undertaken.

"They shall not grow old, as we that are left to grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them"

For The Fallen,
Laurence Binyon September 1914.

Sunday, 25 September 2016



Private 20246

10th Battalion Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

Missing presumed dead - 25th September 1916

Dennis was the son of Jane and Joseph Stuart.  Born at Barrow Hill in early 1886 Dennis was baptised on 25th February at Staveley Parish Church.

Jane, Dennis' mother had married Joseph on 17th July 1876 at North Wingfield.  Jane's maiden name was Cutts and she was born in Hasland around 1845.  She had a son before she married Joseph; Charles Sneath Bennett was born in 1871.  It looks likely that Jane had married his father that same year, a man named James Bennett.  However, this would need to be confirmed with the marriage and birth certificates.

And so by 1881 the Stuart family were settled and living at 11 Furnace Hill, Staveley.  Joseph was employed as a pipe moulder.  Charles was aged 9 years old and the couple had two daughters; Florence 4 and Lizzie 2 years of age.  

Another son was born in 1884 named Joseph Harry after his father, but then sadly in the winter of 1885/86 young Lizzie died aged just 7 years old.  Dennis was born around the time that Lizzie died, it must have been a terrible time for Jane and Joseph and the Stuart family.

1891 brought even more heartache for the family, when the head of the household Joseph died aged 39 years old.  Leaving Jane to bring up her four children alone.  Whether they moved before or after Joseph's death is not known, but on the 1891 census Jane and three of her children were living at Meadow Cottage in Barrow Hill.  Charles was aged 19 years old and luckily was able to work to bring some money into the household, he was an apprentice iron moulder.  The Stuart family shared the house with another family, they occupied three of the rooms and the Needham family took the other two rooms.  

Florence was not at home on the 1891 census, she was visiting Herbert and Zylpha Fox in Oldham.  Zylpha was from Brimington in Chesterfield.

Ten years on in 1901 Dennis was aged 15 years and old was working his apprenticeship as an iron moulder. He lived at 105 Barrow Hill with his mother Jane, Charles, Florence and Joseph and a little 4 year old boy named Hubert.  Hubert was the son of Florence, born on 16th March 1897.  

Wedding bells....

The Stuart family had reason to celebrate in the first decade of the 20th Century; Florence, Joseph and Dennis all tied the knot and married their sweethearts.

Florence married George Cresswell in 1903, George was working as a railway guard.  He lived at Barrow Hill but was born in Stoke Orchard in Gloucestershire.

Joseph married Mary Ellen Brookes at St Annes Church in Sale, Cheshire.  They married on 1905.

Dennis married Sarah Barnes on 27th August 1906 at Staveley Parish Church.  

Sadly it was not all happiness as Dennis's mother Jane died in 1908 aged 63 years old.  

1911 the eve of war....

Dennis and Sarah were living at 105 Wellington Street, New Whittington.  Dennis had changed his occupation leaving the dirty noisy environment as an iron moulder, he was now employed as a hairdresser.

Florence and George were living at 105 Barrow Hill, George was still working as a goods guard for Midland Railways.  The couple had four children of their own; Gladys 7, Harry 6, Mabel 5 and Nellie 3 years of age. Florence's son Hubert and her bother Charles were both living with the Cresswell family, they were both employed at the iron foundry.

Joseph had sadly lost his young wife, Mary Ellen died in 1908 aged 30 years old.  In 1911 Joseph was lodging with William Riley and his family at 78 West Street, Eckington.  Joseph had also changed his career and like his brother Dennis he was employed as a hairdresser.

Dennis' war....

The service records for Dennis do not exist, but we know that he joined the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI) in Doncaster, South Yorkshire.  

He was attached to the 10th Battalion and took the soldier rank and number; Private 20246.  The 10th were a part of the 64th Brigade, 21st Division.  They landed, along with the 9th Battalion KOYLI in France in September 1915.

The battalion took part in some of the most well known battles of the Great War; including the infamous Battle of the Somme.  The men made their way to the village of Buire on 26th June, in preparation for the coming attack.  They had already worked hard in transporting gas cylinders and equipment to the trenches in the days prior to this.

On 30th June both the 9th and 10th battalions took up their assembly positions, side by side they would go into battle.  Not all of the battalion would be in action, some men were ordered to stay behind to wait for the call for reinforcements, they were stationed at Bus Wood.  Whether Dennis was present is not known.

On 22nd September 1916 the 10th battalion moved into the trenches at Bernafay Wood, where they remained preparing for the attack on Goudecourt which began on 25th September.  The day of the attack came and the men were fed and watered well, they had their full provisions of equipment including SOS rockets, ammunition, orders of attack and signal flares.  They moved out of the trenches at12.35.  The acting 2nd in Command Major C A Millward wrote "the noise was awful, but it made one feel proud to see what our munition workers and Great Britain had been able to accomplish"......."all reports were good at first".

It soon became apparent that confusion had occurred, it appears that the flares used by the Germans were very similar to those used by the B.E.F.  These flares had misled our aircraft and the result was that the men had not got as far as originally thought.  The trenches were also mixed with men from various regiments, due to the location errors.

Many of the men were killed and wounded during this action, "the communication trenches were much blocked with wounded".  After a while a message was received stating that the B.E.F had not got as far as the German's front line trenches, as they thought they had taken them, this was not the case.  The front wires were all still intact, the German's were directly in front of the wounded and weary B.E.F.  They were however, still ordered to continue their attack and move forward.

The situation paused whilst the men reformed and gathered their equipment.  They were still preparing when from out of nowhere they noticed "thick white smoke travelling along in front of it - a "tank".  Twenty minutes later and they saw "streams of German's coming across no mans land to surrender".  The German Captain "a coarse looking brute" explained how he and his men had been cut off and when they saw the tank coming up behind they had no other option but to surrender.  The memo by Major Millward stated that 362 men were counted.

Would Dennis have been alive to see this great spectacle? Would he have witnessed the use of the early "tank"? The whole concept behind the use of such a machine was under a trial and error strategy.  We can only begin to imagine how shocking such a beast moving across the earth would appear to the men who were used to trench warfare.

Dennis was reported missing in action, presumed dead on 25th September 1916.  He has no known grave but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, France.  Ref pier and face 11C & 12A.

Private 20246, Dennis Redfern Stuart was awarded the Victory and British Medals for his service.

Life went on....

Sarah Stuart the wife of Dennis may have married a George Whitehead in 1920.  If this is correct then she possibly died in 1931 aged 45 years old.  (Further checking needs to be carried out to confirm this, possible marriage certificate required).

Charles Sneath Bennett never married.  He lived with his sister Florence and her family at 105 Barrow Hill. He died on 11th August 1935 and his administration of £118 15s went to his sister Florence Cresswell.

Florence remained living in the area.  She was recorded as living at 105 Barrow Hill on the 1939 Register, with two lodgers who were both employed by LMS Railways.  Her husband George Cresswell was living at 30 Lime Avenue, Stavely.  He is living with his step son (Florence's son) Hubert and Mary Jane Stuart and their daughter's Doris and Marjorie.  Florence died in 1945 aged 68 years old.

Joseph found happiness again and married Phyllis Brier in 1917.  He was serving with the 21st Battalion Prince of Wales Own (West Yorkshire Regiment) at the time.  He was promoted up to Lance Sergeant 21/72.  

Unfortunately Joseph's service record hasn't survived and there is no date of entry into theatre of war on his medal card, so it is not known when he actually enlisted.  He was not awarded the 15 Star however, indicating he most likely enlisted after that date.  He did serve right up to the very end of the Great War but was wounded and died of his wounds on 22nd September 1918.  

Joseph is buried at Ligny-St Flochel British Cemetery, Averdoingt, France.  He has a headstone with the sign of the cross and the chosen words of his widow Phyllis read;


Joseph was mentioned in despatches for his service.   His notice can be found in the London Gazette, 24th December 1918, supplement 31083, page 15127.

The CWGC records that Phyllis was living at 136 Lister Lane, Halifax at the time of Joseph's death.  She would receive his medals the Victory and British Medal and later the Oak Leaf emblem which was to signify that Joseph had been mentioned in dispatches.  

To read more about Joseph Harry Stuart please click here where you can read his story.  What became of Phyllis after the war is not known. If anyone can add to her story please feel free to comment below or drop me an email.

Hubert Stuart the son of Florence, nephew of Dennis also served during WW1.  He enlisted at Staveley town on 9th March 1915, aged just 19 years old.  Hubert lived at 24 Barrow Hill and worked as a miner prior to the war.  Hubert served as a driver with the Royal Field Artillery L/11260.  He arrived in France on 8th January 1916 and remained there until 17th September 1918.  

He was eventually allowed and I am sure, well over due a furlough; from 18th September until 1st October 1918.  He had a very special time whilst he was home on leave, he married his sweetheart Mary Jane Stratton at Staveley Parish Church. The couple married on 25th September 1918.

Hubert arrived back in France on 2nd October 1918 and continued serving until 21st December 1918 when he was finally released to duties as a coal miner.  He returned home on the H.S Princess Victoria on 27th December 1918, home to his new wife Mary Jane.  

Hubert would have witnessed many horrors during his time with the RFA.  He would live with these memories for the rest of his life.  He was in France to witness that great day on 11th November 1918 when the Armistice was finally agreed and the hope of peace for all nations would be more than a glimmer of hope.  

After Hubert's return to Barrow Hill he had reason to celebrate at the birth of his first daughter Doris on 8th April 1920, another daughter followed many years later on 8th July 1933.  Hubert and Mary Jane lived at 40 Lime Avenue, Staveley and he died in 1976.


If you may be connected to this family or have any further information on Dennis Redfern Stuart or his family please do either leave comments via the pen icon below or drop me an email.

I hope that I have not given details of living persons, if so please advise and I will remove immediately.

Please note all information has been taken from online indexes and sources.  Due to the sheer numbers of people to be researched I am unable to purchase vital event certificates to confirm my research.


Ref and further reading  -
Parish registers
Medal rolls
Soldiers who died in the Great war
Register of soldiers effects
Service record - www.ancestry.co.uk

Newspaper articles - 

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