Westmount, Quebec – 18 November 2020: This is an update to the original story about ‘the kindness of strangers’ that highlights the importance and strength of inter-regimental bonds.
In October 2020 the RMR Museum was contacted by a Jill Scahill, a volunteer at St. John’s Parish, where she had been cleaning the gravesite of an RMR soldier killed in 1915. Intrigued at how a young Canadian ended up buried in Upperthong, Metropolitan Borough of Kirklees, West Yorkshire, England, she wrote the RMR Museum looking for more information on Clarence B. Denman. The son of Walter Fredrick and Amelia Mary Fryer Denman, had lived at 1836 Esplanade Avenue in Montreal (a four-minute walk from St-Viateur Bagel, for those looking for a contemporary local reference) before joining the 14th Battalion (RMR) Canadian Expeditionary Force in August 1914, and he died of wounds suffered in the RMR’s first major action, aged only 22-years old.
Jill was most grateful and reported that she “put a plant on Clarence’s grave and speak to him every time I go to the graveyard”.
Inspired by this story and noting how close it was to Remembrance Day, Lieutenant-Colonel (ret’d) Rick Garber, worked his connections with the Yorkshire Regiment and was put in contact with a Mr. Stuart Kilminster, late of the PWO where he had served as a Corporal. Mr. Kilminster volunteered to place a wreath on Private Denman’s grave and recite the Act of Remembrance for him.
A big ‘Thank You’ to Jill Scahill and Stuart Kilminster, and to everyone who volunteers to honour the memory of our fallen. Private Clarence Denman certainly didn’t want to die at the tender age of 22-years old. And 105 years after he died of his wounds, he has fresh flowers being placed on his tidied grave, a wreath honouring him at Remembrance Day, and his story is still being told.