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WW1 Heroes
11 Ralph John Dee
Sapper: 70th Field Company, Royal Engineers Frederick William Dee was born in Avening in late 1861 and was baptised in Holy Cross Church on Sunday the 23rd of February 1962. He was descended from at least four Dee generations in the village and became a carpenter on leaving school. He married Sarah Underwood, a member of another long- standing Avening family on Saturday the 4th of December 1880, again at Holy Cross and they had two daughters and a son (Daniel Edward) born between 1888 and 1893. Unfortunately, Sarah died in 1894 aged 31 leaving Fred with two daughters aged 10 and 1 and a son of 14. We can only speculate as to how they met but Fred married again in 1896 at the Registry Office, Devizes, his new bride being Annie Eliza Plumridge aged 22. Annie was born and bred in Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire. They had three children, Ralph John born on 17th August 1896 and Vera Lilian (1900) and Hilda Annie (1904). All of Fred's children were baptised in Holy Cross Church. Some time in the early 1900s, Fred and his wife became landlords at The Cross, Avening and they are listed as such in Kelly's Directory of 1907. It was early in the First World War that tragedy again struck the family. Fred's eldest son, Daniel Edward died aged 25 on the 1st of April 1915. The Parish Registers do not say how he died. The same year, Ralph John, the eldest from the second marriage, joined Kitchener's First Army. We do not know whether he had followed his father's carpentry trade but he was taken into the Royal Engineers. He was posted to France on the 31st of May 1915 and we know very little of how the 70th Company was involved but by December the war had descended into bitter trench warfare. The last battle on any size had been the Allies’ "Big Push" of September and October which had proved costly in lives and to no avail. December 1915 was a time of snipers, regular artillery bombardments, reconnaissance patrols and skirmishes to take enemy positions in Northern France, and Ralph would have been heavily involved in trench and bridge reinforcement and the maintenance of wire defences. On Monday the 8th of December he was killed near Béthune. He was buried at Le Touret cemetery, Richebourg-L'Avoue and his grave is tended by the War Graves Commission. He received (posthumously) the Victory Medal, the British Medal and the 1915 Star. But this was not the end of the family's distress as Ralph's youngest sister died just a month later aged 11 and was buried alongside her half-brother in Avening churchyard. The headstone is to Daniel and Hilda but Ralph John is also mentioned. We have been unable to locate any living relatives.
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11 Ralph John Dee
Sapper: 70th Field Company, Royal Engineers Frederick William Dee was born in Avening in late 1861 and was baptised in Holy Cross Church on Sunday the 23rd of February 1962. He was descended from at least four Dee generations in the village and became a carpenter on leaving school. He married Sarah Underwood, a member of another long-standing Avening family on Saturday the 4th of December 1880, again at Holy Cross and they had two daughters and a son (Daniel Edward) born between 1888 and 1893. Unfortunately, Sarah died in 1894 aged 31 leaving Fred with two daughters aged 10 and 1 and a son of 14. We can only speculate as to how they met but Fred married again in 1896 at the Registry Office, Devizes, his new bride being Annie Eliza Plumridge aged 22. Annie was born and bred in Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire. They had three children, Ralph John born on 17th August 1896 and Vera Lilian (1900) and Hilda Annie (1904). All of Fred's children were baptised in Holy Cross Church. Some time in the early 1900s, Fred and his wife became landlords at The Cross, Avening and they are listed as such in Kelly's Directory of 1907. It was early in the First World War that tragedy again struck the family. Fred's eldest son, Daniel Edward died aged 25 on the 1st of April 1915. The Parish Registers do not say how he died. The same year, Ralph John, the eldest from the second marriage, joined Kitchener's First Army. We do not know whether he had followed his father's carpentry trade but he was taken into the Royal Engineers. He was posted to France on the 31st of May 1915 and we know very little of how the 70th Company was involved but by December the war had descended into bitter trench warfare. The last battle on any size had been the Allies’ "Big Push" of September and October which had proved costly in lives and to no avail. December 1915 was a time of snipers, regular artillery bombardments, reconnaissance patrols and skirmishes to take enemy positions in Northern France, and Ralph would have been heavily involved in trench and bridge reinforcement and the maintenance of wire defences. On Monday the 8th of December he was killed near Béthune. He was buried at Le Touret cemetery, Richebourg-L'Avoue and his grave is tended by the War Graves Commission. He received (posthumously) the Victory Medal, the British Medal and the 1915 Star. But this was not the end of the family's distress as Ralph's youngest sister died just a month later aged 11 and was buried alongside her half- brother in Avening churchyard. The headstone is to Daniel and Hilda but Ralph John is also mentioned. We have been unable to locate any living relatives.
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