RMR’s Still Dying From Wounds Suffered A Month Prior

Tuesday, May 25, 1915

In billets, Le Hamel

The Battalion War Diarist has no entry for this day. [1]

Private Denman's gravemarker
Private Denman’s gravemarker

THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY: According to his attestation paper Clarence was born in Montreal, June 18, 1893; however, some unconfirmed sources suggest he was born in London, England. He was a son of Walter Fredrick and Amelia Mary Fryer Denman of 1836, Esplanade Avenue, Montreal, and was apparently educated at Strathcona Academy, Outremont, where his name was inscribed in the school’s bronze war memorial after the war.

He had joined the Victoria Rifles of Canada and then enlisted on September 21, 1914 for overseas service with the 14th Battalion. He proceeded with the 14th Battalion to England and France and took part in its first major battle at Ypres in April 1915. There he was badly wounded in the lungs by shrapnel. He was taken to Holmfirth Military Hospital, in West Yorkshire where he died on May 25, 1915, one of 64,751 Canadian troops to lose their lives during the four years of conflict. Denman must have been very popular with the hospital staff and local community. His death led to an extraordinary outpouring of mourning in Holmfirth and his funeral was one of the largest the town had ever seen. Private Denman was buried in St John’s churchyard, Upperthong, Holmfirth, Yorkshire which is the final resting place for five British servicemen, three from the First World War and two from the Second World War.

Instead of the standard issue Imperial War Graves Commission headstone, Private Denman’s grave is marked with an imposing monument erected by the hospital staff on which the inscription reads:

“To The Memory Of
Clarence B. Denman
Royal Montreal Rifles(sic)
Aged 22
Wounded at Hill 60, Died At
The Holmfirth Military Cottage
Hospital, May 25th 1915
‘A Soldier of the Empire Mustered Out’
Erected by the Hospital Staff”

[1]    War Diary, 14th Canadian Battalion, The Royal Montreal Regiment, May 25, 1915.  Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/e/e044/e001089733.jpg
[2]   http://ww1cemeteries.com/british_cemeteries_extension/upperthong_churchyard.htm

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