the First World War

Barkwith at the Outbreak of War

At the time of the 1911 census, three years before the outbreak of the First World War, there were 110 people recorded in West Barkwith and 308 In East Barkwith.

The Fallen

Many people from the parish served during the war and some made the ultimate sacrifice. Click below for information on those lost during World War One.


Those Who Served

The table on this page contains a list of the people associated with the parish that it is known, served during the First World War. 

The Railway

While the roads were quiet compared to today’s standards, they weren’t the only means of travel available to residents. East Barkwith station allowed travel by train through to Lincoln or Louth. There is a note in the Parish Council minutes mentioning that many residents used the train to visit Lincoln market, although markets in Louth were also popular.

At this time, before telephones began being installed in the area during the middle 1920s the station was the focal point for emergency calls to doctors and hospitals, although another Parish Council meeting mentions the frequent breakdown of the telephone equipment.

The First World War saw the felling of many acres of pine trees around Withcall, which were then taken by rail and used for shoring up trenches on the battlefields of France and Belgium.

Busier Skies

The residents of the parish must have watched the skies overhead become increasing busy as the number of airfields in Lincolnshire increased as the war went on, and both operational and training flights become common-place.

On the 4th August 1914 there was only one airfield in Lincolnshire but by the time the war ended the county had thirty eight airfields and was a key aircraft manufacturer with at least four major companies producing aircraft for the RAF.

Along the Lincolnshire coast, balloon and aircraft stations were set up as part of the defences.

Zepplin Raids

The danger of zeppelin raids was discussed by the Parish Council during a meeting on the 9th March 1916, held at the school. This was in response to a zeppelin passing over East Barkwith on the night of Sunday 5th March at about 9:30. After discussion it was stated that “The Council wishes that the special and parish constables would without delay, make their plans for systematically ensuring lighting regulations are constantly observed and that in the event of a warning of the approach of enemy aircraft being received the whole parish should be systematically patrolled.” (East & West Barkwith Parish Council Minute Book 1894-1945)

The Wounded

During the First World War the Red Cross took over Stanhope Hall near Horncastle and it was used to treat 1127 wounded soldiers between 1914 and 1919. This role was again reprised during the Second World War.

Agriculture and Food Production

During the war, the overriding need to feed the country’s population meant that agriculture become a high priority.

In 1916 when conscription was introduced, farming became a reserved occupation.

During the latter half of the war, the possibility of food shortages started to become a concern.

During a meeting of the Parish Council on Monday 16th April 1917, the Council considered it necessary to encourage food production in the parish and resolved to call a public meeting to discuss the matter. (East & West Barkwith Parish Council Minute Book 1894-1945) 

the Denny Family During The First World War


At the time of the First World War, the Denny family were living at Barkwith House, Torrington Lane, East Barkwith. The family were influential and all of them played a role during the First World War.

Dr Edmund Barry Denny JP

Edmund Barry Denny was born in Ireland on 29 November 1860, the son of the Reverend Henry Denny and Sophia Catherine MacGillycuddy. He married Emily Barclay Allen, daughter of Henry Colclough Allen, on 18 September 1884 at St. Peter’s Parish Church, Aungier Street, Dublin, the service being conducted by his brother, Rev Edward Denny.

Dr Denny held the office of Justice of the Peace (J.P.) for Lincolnshire and was registered as both a Licentiate, Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland (L.R.C.S.I.) and a Licentiate, Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh (L.R.C.P.E.).

He and Emily had six children: 

  • Norah Creina Denny
  • Henry Allen Maynard Denny
  • Iris Denny
  • Robert Edmund Barry Denny
  • Thomas Hamilton Denny
  • Arthur de Courcy MacGillycuddy Denny

In 1891 the family were living in a house at the Market Place, Wragby, but by 1901 had moved into Barkwith House in East Barkwith. In the 1909 Kelly’s Directory, Dr Denny is listed as the Medical Officer and Public Vaccinator for the Wragby district of Horncastle Union and Hainton district, Louth Union, and Medical Officer to Great Northern Railway.

Following the war, Dr Denny was on the committee that organised the planning and erection of the Barkwith war memorial.

He died on 21 October 1945 at the age of 84.

Emily Barclay Denny

Born, Emily Jane Peta Barclay Allen, in Ranelagh, Dublin, Ireland circa 1858, the daughter of Henry Colclough Allen. Emily married Edmund Denny on 18 September 1884 at St. Peter’s Parish Church, Aungier Street, Dublin.

Having given birth to six children and organised the busy doctor’s household, during the First World War Emily organised a War Hospital Supply Depot at Barkwith House. During the war, almost all of the bandages, night-shirts, gowns and bed-jackets used for soldiers in hospital were hand-made by groups and individuals world-wide, often paying for the materials out of their own pockets. The Central Work Rooms at Burlington House, London gathered together willing women from all parts of the suburbs and those who lived further afield set up Work Parties (such as that organised by Emily in East Barkwith) where local women could contribute their time and skills. 

There were more than 2,700 of these Work Parties and War Hospital Supply Depots at home and abroad, and now their contribution has been largely forgotten, but without them supplies of dressings and garments to many hospitals would have been non-existent. Their work is an example of the importance of voluntary work during the Great War.

Emily died, aged 98, on the 11th Nov 1957 at Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.


Norah Creina Denny

Norah was born on the 3rd August 1885 in Wragby, but by 1901 had moved to Barkwith House with her parents and siblings. She was educated at Lincoln High School and Queen Margaret’s school, Scarborough.

She later trained as a nurse at North Ormesby Hospital near Middleborough from 23rd December 1914 to March 1915. In December 1915, Norah enlisted with Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service as a Special Military Probationer, with a salary of £20 per year with free board and lodging, plus £4 a year uniform allowance paid quarterly in arrears. 

She initially served at Stoke on Trent War Hospital, then was sent to France where she worked at No. 26 General Hospital in Etaples, did temporary duty on the matron in chief’s staff at Abbeville, and then worked at No. 14 General Hospital in Wimereux (see picture) until she was demobilised in January 1919, at which time she was planning on travelling to Canada.

During her time in France Norah was ‘mentioned in despatches’ (London Gazette 7th June 1918) and then awarded the Royal Red Cross (second class) in 1919. 

The Royal Red Cross is a military decoration awarded in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth for exceptional services in military nursing. The award was established on 27 April 1883 by Queen Victoria, with a single class of Member. A second and lower class, Associate, was added during World War I in 1917.

The award is made to a fully trained nurse of an officially recognised nursing service, military or civilian, who has shown exceptional devotion and competence in the performance of actual nursing duties, over a continuous and long period, or who has performed some very exceptional act of bravery and devotion at his or her post of duty. This decoration had the distinction of being conferred exclusively to females until 1976. It is conferred on members of the nursing services regardless of rank. 

Recipients of the Royal Red Cross are entitled to use the post-nominal letters "RRC" or "ARRC" for Members and Associates respectively. As such Norah became Miss Norah Denny ARRC.

Norah travelled to Canada in 1919 and two years later founded Queen Margaret’s School at Duncan in partnership with another British lady, Miss Dorothy Geoghegon. Together they encouraged horsemanship and vigorous independence amongst the girls that attended the school.

Norah had been a member of the Girl Guides since 1911 and became a Captain and Commissioner of the Guides at Duncan. In 1963 she was made a “Freeman of the City of Duncan” after fifty years as Headmistress of the school.

She died, aged 97, in 1983 in British Columbia, Canada.

Iris Denny

Iris Denny was born in Wragby on the 15th December 1888. 

She travelled with her brother Robert to Canada in 1913, boarding the Teutonic on 20th May in Liverpool and sailing to Montreal. Her occupation was listed as a ‘domestic’. Over the years she made the journey between England and Canada on a number of occasions. 

During the First World War, she served as a driver in the Royal Air Force, and then during the Second World War she gained the rank of Section Officer in the service of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force.

Iris remained single and died on the 15th January 1978 in British Columbia, Canada.

Henry Allen Maynard Denny

Henry Allen Maynard Denny was born in Wragby on the 28th March 1887.

He married Kathleen Mary Goddard daughter of Walter Werden Goddard on the 22nd May 1926, but they were later divorced and he re-married, marrying Elsi Margaret Williams, daughter of R. O. Williams, on the 23rd February 1950.

He and Kathleen had two children, Norah Peta Denny (born 11th April 1928) and Kathleen Wendy Elizabeth Denny (born 28th September 1930).

He enlisted with his brother at the start of the First World War in the 16th Canadian Infantry Battalion, accepting the offer of a commission, but later transferred to the 6th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment.

In August 1917, he was a Lieutenant serving with the 6th Battalion in France. On the 22nd August they attacked heavily fortified enemy positions including a large and strongly held ‘pillbox’ at Bulow Farm, situated among a group of smaller fortifications. The attack was successful and well carried out, but the battalion took a number of officer casualties, including Lieutenant Denny, who was wounded. He gained the rank of Captain with the 6th Battalion, before leaving the service.

He died in 1980, in British Columbia, Canada.


Robert Edmund Barry Denny

Robert was born in Wragby on the 18th March 1891.

In 1913 at the age of 22, after a short spell as a medical student at The London Hospital, Robert travelled to Canada with his elder sister Iris (24), boarding the Teutonic on 20th May in Liverpool and sailing to Montreal. His occupation was listed as ‘farmer’.

On the 23rd September 1914, after war had been declared, he and his brother Maynard, enlisted with the 16th Canadian Infantry Battalion. He died of wounds on the 22nd May 1915 in France.

(See the section on the First World War Fallen for more details of Robert’s war service).

Thomas Hamilton Denny

Thomas Hamilton Denny was born in Wragby on the 16th June 1893. He usually went by his middle name of Hamilton.

He fought in the First World War, initially enlisting in August 1914 with the 25th Company of London, then gaining the rank of 2nd Lieutenant in the service of the 6th Battalion, Devon Regiment, then the rank of Captain in the service of the 7th Gurkha Rifles.

After the war, he married Muriel Mary Doncaster, daughter of Edward Doncaster, on the 8th January 1920 at St Peter’s Church, Ealing, London.

He and Muriel had one child, Pamela Diana Denny.

He was later invested as a Member, Order of the British Empire (M.B.E.) in 1942.

He died on the 21st June 1959 in Deben, Suffolk.

Arthur de Courcy MacGillycuddy Denny

Arthur de Courcy MacGillycuddy Denny was born on the 10th January 1899, in East Barkwith.

He was educated at boarding schools including Bromyard Grammar School, Bromyard, Worcester and Sutton Valence School, Maidstone, Kent.

He fought in the First World War, having first attended the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich. He gained the rank of Lieutenant in the service of the Royal Field Artillery. After the war the London Gazette records him being seconded to the Royal Air Force:

“Lt. Arthur De Courcy MacGillycuddy Denny, R.F.A., is granted a temporary commission as Flying Officer on seconding for four years' duty with the Royal Air Force. 6th Apr. 1921”

He didn’t complete these four years as the London Gazette records Flying Officer Arthur De Courcy McGillicuddy Denny (Lt., R.F.A.), relinquishing his temporary commission on retirement from the Army, 24th February 1923.

He married, Marie Cecilia Brooke, daughter of Herbert Brooke, on the 25th August 1924. He and Marie had a child, Maynard de Courcy Barry Denny (born 23rd June 1927, died 1993). He and Marie Cecilia Brooke were divorced in 1934.

He later married, Mary Evelyn Money, daughter of Brig.-Gen. Noel Ernest Money, on the 27th March 1937.

He subsequently fought in the Second World War, serving with both the Royal Canadian Artillery and the Royal Canadian Air Force. 

He died in 1971, in British Columbia, Canada.