Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of BirthJanuary 9, 1894
Place of BirthWindsor, Berkshire
CountryEngland
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinHenrietta Dennett, mother, 530 Third St N, Kenora, Ontario
Trade / CallingClerk
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number439029
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion52nd Battalion
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Date of EnlistmentDecember 21, 1914
Age at Enlistment21
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathApril 11, 1968
Age at Death74
Buried AtCremation by Vancouver Crematorium, Vancouver, British Columbia

Dennett, Robert William

Robert William Dennett was born on 9 January 1894 in Windsor, Berkshire, England. His father, a solicitor’s clerk, was also named Robert and was born in Camberwell/Pimlico in London. Robert Jr’s mother was Henrietta Baldwin who had been born in Cholsey, Berkshire; the couple had married in Windsor in 1890. Robert had two younger sisters, Grace Dulcie (1897) and Elizabeth Hilda (1899). Robert Sr died in the spring of 1905 and in October of 1907 Henrietta and the children immigrated to Canada aboard the Lake Erie that arrived in Montreal on the 6th. Their destination was given as Kenora, Ontario on the passenger list.

The 1911 Canada census found the family living on 7th Avenue in Kenora, with the head of the house given as George Valley, miner, and Henrietta as his wife. A number of lodgers also resided in the household.

As a Private with the 44th Battalion, Robert signed his attestation papers in Kenora on 21 December 1914, giving his occupation as clerk and next of kin as his mother Henrietta Dennett. On 1 June 1915, in Kenora, Robert married Mary Neniska. Born in Austria, Mary was the daughter of recent immigrants Martin and Marie Neniska. After Robert had left for overseas the couple later gave  birth to son William Robert.

By mid June of 1915, Robert, now a Sergeant with the 52nd Battalion, had left for training camp in Port Arthur along with a number of local fellows. Organized in March 1915 under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel AW Hay, and mobilized at Port Arthur, recruitment for the 52nd Battalion had taken place in Port Arthur, Kenora, Fort Frances, Fort William, and Dryden. Embarking from Saint John, New Brunswick on the 23rd of November, upon arrival in England the Battalion moved to Witley Camp for six weeks of training with British instructors. In January of 1916 the Battalion moved to Bramshott for two more weeks of training, embarking for France in late February.

By the end of June of 1916 Robert was taken on strength with the 3rd Entrenching Battalion, appointed A/O/R Sergeant with pay. Returning to the 52nd Battalion in mid September, he reverted to the rank of Sergeant. In early October Robert suffered a shrapnel wound to his leg and was admitted to the No 4 Canadian Field Ambulance for treatment.

In 1917 Robert was to serve as an instructor at the 3rd Canadian Divisional School in June for ten days and then returned in August until the following May when he was transferred to the   Brigade Training Company where he served as instructor until mid November of 1918. He was granted leaves in February and December of 1917 and late December of 1918. Tragedy had had hit the Dennett family with the death of Robert’s wife Mary that December due to influenza.

Robert returned to Canada aboard the Winnifredian that arrived in Halifax in late July of 1919. In April of 1924 he married Grace Lillian Goodman in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The marriage resulted in divorce, with Robert later marrying Marjory Lillian Guilder. Robert had moved to British Columbia in 1927, residing in Vancouver/Burnaby where he worked as an accountant.

Predeceased by his sister Elizabeth Hilda Rymer in 1925, mother Henrietta in 1947, and sister Grace Dulcie Hall in 1963, all in Kenora, Robert died on 11 April 1968 in the Shaughnessy Hospital in Vancouver. Cremation was by the Vancouver Crematorium. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Marjory, sons William and Robert and daughters Josephine Saarinen, Abigail Riley, and Helen Sim as well as fifteen grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

Robert  is commemorated on the St. Alban’s Pro-Cathedral First World War Roll of Honour.

by Judy Stockham

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obituary courtesy of Mike Melen


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