No. 12232, Lance-Corporal, Jack DENNIS
7th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Saturday 30th October, 1915
Jack was born in Exning on 24th November 1892 [Newmarket-Q1-1893 3b:503] 2nd son of Harry and Kate Clara DENNIS (née MAYES), of Oxford Street, Exning. |
1901 census...at Enjoyable Cottage were Jack, his father Harry  a butcher, born in London Middlesex, his mother Kate  born in Landwade, Exning, his brother Arthur  born in Exning and a lodger.
He was admitted to Soham Grammar school from Exning Board School as a weekly boarder on 2nd May 1904, aged 11 years 6 month, (source:- http://www.sohamgrammar.org.uk/go-to-admission-register.htm )
1911 census...Jack was an assistant teacher living at New Walk Terrace, York (principals George and Mary Armstrong). His parents were still at Enjoyable Cottage, Oxford Street, Exning with one lodger. His father has moved his place of birth to Sydenham, Surrey. Brother Arthur has not been found.
As "Our Exning Heroes" records his burial it seems his grave never found again, or was destroyed in later fighting. The two friends mentioned below seem to be Frederick George ROSE , who was killed 2nd April 1917 near Arras, and possibly Reuben Harry Everett from Exning. Henry EVERETT from Exning had already been killed in September.
Jack's entry in"Our Exning Heroes" reads as follows:
Dennis, J. 7th Suffolks. Corporal.
Jack Dennis was educated at Soham Grammar School, where he remained five years. As a boy he used to sing in the St. Martin's Choir, of which his father has been a member for a great number of years. He was assistant master in a school at York for five years, and for a year before the war broke out was working under Mr. Whitaker in our local school.
He was one of the first of the Exning young men to volunteer, and joined up on August 24th. He was killed at Hullock by an aerial torpedo on October 31st, 1915 , death being instantaneous. Two of his old friends, Fred Rose and Harry Everett helped to bury him. Had he lived he would have shortly been given his Commission, and he would have made one of the best of officers. He was keen on all manly sports, especially cricket and football. He was just twenty-three when he died.
Sergeant Joseph Webb, born in Dullingham, and lived in Soham, was killed with him.
Hulluch Quarries were just in front of the German lines north of Loos. The Battle of Loos had ended earlier in the month, involving amongst other, the 1st,
7th and 8th Suffolks, and where 43,000 British casualties occurred in 10 days.|
On October 19th the Germans counter attacked from the Quarries, but were repulsed. After a short rest at Noyelles and Bethune, the battalion returned to the Hulluch-Givenchy sector, taking their regular turn of duty in the front line trenches amid a good deal of activity by way of mining, bombing, trench mortar fire and gas. The 7th Suffolk lost 5 this day, only one has an identified grave.
The Newmarket Journal of 13th November 1915 reported:-
CORPORAL JACK DENNIS KILLED - We learn with much regret that Lance-Corporal Jack Dennis, 7th Suffolk Regiment, younger son of Councillor H.Dennis, of Exning, was killed by a German shell, when leaving the trench in which he had on duty, on October 31st. Five men were killed by the same shell. The sad news was conveyed to Mr. and Mrs Dennis by an Exning man, Corporal Eddie Dicker, of the 7th Suffolks, who came home from France on leave, on Friday of last week, and was received in the village with general regret......Soham Grammar School, under Mr.H.W.Mould, for five years, and afterwards entered the scholastic profession. He had gained his certificate and was, up to the outbreak of the war, an assistant master at the Exning Council School. He was one of the first to enlist, joining the 7th Suffolks in August 1914, and soon gained his lance stripe. He was offered promotion to corporal but refused it. His battalion went to the front in June. Further details of his death have been received in a letter from Mr. Llewellyn Jeffery, of Exning; he was buried by two of his Exning comrades, Everett and Rose. Widespread sympathy is felt for Mr. and Mrs Dennis in the loss of their gallant lad. -Mr.and Mrs H.Dennis desire to thank the many friends from whom they have received expressions of sympathy and condolence in their sad bereavement.
The Cambridge Independent Press of 28th January 1916 carried the photo above and the following:
LOCAL MEN KILLED IN ACTION
Lance-Corporal JACK DENNIS, a well known local footballer, younger son of Mr. Henry Dennis of Exning, an Urban District Councillor for Newmarket. Cpl Dennis enlisted in the 7th Batt, Suffolk Regiment when war broke out. He was killed by a German shell on Sunday morning, October 31st 195. He was 22 years of age and unmarried.
click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details