Able Seaman Ernest James Palmer Dean

Date of Birth 20 November 1891
Age at Death 27
Date of Death 12 February 1919
Service Number J/3953
Military Service Royal Navy HMS Velox
Merton Address 37 Wycliffe Road, Wimbledon
Local Memorial Wimbledon Cemetery

Additional Information

Ernest’s father Charles had previously been married to a widow Catherine Wetherill who already had two children Richard and William Wetherill. After the death of Catherine, Charles continued to look after the two boys. He then married Amelia (nee Coram) in Leeds on 7th March 1888.

In the census of 1891 Charles aged 39 and his wife Amelia aged 32 were living at 23 17th Avenue, Wortley in Leeds, with a 1-year-old son called George who was born in 1889. Living with them were the two stepsons Richard now 25 and William Wetherill aged 22. Charles worked as a Railway Drayman whilst the two-step sons were Leather workers.

Ernest James Palmer Dean was born in Leeds on 20th November 1891 and baptised on 22nd December 1891. His parents were living in Wortley, and his father’s occupation was listed as a Railway Servant. Further children followed: Ester in 1893 and Francis in 1896.

By the census of 1901 the family are residing at 3 Britannia Place in Armley, Leeds with their four children George 11, Ernest 9, Ester 7 and Francis 4 and two step sons Richard and William. Many of the residents in this area, like Ernest’s father appear to work for the Railway.

In 1905 records show the death of youngest brother Francis aged nine.

Ernest joined the Royal Navy as a Boy 2nd Class and first served on the Ship called the “Ganges” from 27th February 1909 to 13th April 1909. He then served on the “Ganges II” and promoted to Boy 1st Class. On the 20th November 1909, his 18th birthday, whilst serving on the “Victorious”, Ernest was promoted to Ordinary Seaman. He enlisted for a 12-year period. Ernest was described as having a 34-inch chest, brown hair and blue eyes. His occupation prior to enlisting was a butcher’s boy.

In 1910 his father died aged 57.

The following year the family appear to have separated and were no longer living together.

Ernest, we know is on board His Majesty’s ship “Russell” a 1st Class Battleship and is serving as an Ordinary Seaman. This ship at the time of the census was in harbour in Malta and had 671 men on board. Ernest had also served on several other ships: Magnificent and the Pembroke and was promoted to Able Seaman on the 1st June 1911 whilst serving on the Russell.

15th December 1915 Ernest’s sister Esther marries Lance Corporal George Cooper at the Parish Church in Wimbledon. Esther’s address at the time of her marriage was 4 Camp View Wimbledon Common. She was most likely working as a servant. Sir John Cecil Crampton (Insurance Broker) and his wife Florence resided at this address for many years.

Ernest remained serving in the Royal Navy right up to his death in 1919. The final ship he served on was the “Velox” which was a V Class destroyer built in 1918. This ship served in the last year of the First World War and was engaged in the second Ostend Raid.

Ernest died in the Royal Navy Hospital in Invergordon, a casualty of the flu epidemic at this time. He died of Influenza septicaemia and pneumonia on the 12th February 1919. His mother Amelia, of Wall House, The Green Wimbledon Common was notified of his death.

Ernest is remembered on a memorial at Wimbledon (Gap Road) cemetery.

Amelia Dean, Ernest’s mother remained in the Wimbledon area and was listed in the Kelly’s directory of 1922 with the address of 37 Wycliffe Road Wimbledon.


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