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Noor

Canadian officer in Leinster Regiment...

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Hi all,

I am hoping to find any extra information of Oliver Macklem Denison (1874-1925), Leinster Regiment.

Especially it's puzzles me what medals he had entitled to in total and also did he saw any form of service during the Great War.

So far I have mainly information of his famous family linage but not so much of him. Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated.

Oliver Macklem Denison (7 August 1874 – 22 November 1942)
Lieutenant, 1st Battalion
Prince of Wales' Leinster Regiment

Oliver was born as a son of Colonel George Taylor Denison (31 August 1839 – 6 June 1925) and Helen Mair Denison (1865 – 1939). His father was President of the Royal Society of Canada, member of the Toronto city council. From the first he took a prominent part in the organisation of the military forces of Canada, becoming a lieutenant-colonel in the active militia in 1866. He saw active service during the Fenian raids of 1866, and during the North-West Rebellion of 1885. Owing to his dissatisfaction with the conduct of the Conservative ministry during the Red River Rebellion in 1869-70, he abandoned that party, and in 1872 unsuccessfully contested Algoma in the Liberal interest. Thereafter he remained free from party ties. In 1877 he was appointed police magistrate of Toronto.

Colonel Denison was one of the founders of the Canada First movement, which did much to shape the national aspirations from 1870 to 1878, and was a consistent supporter of imperial federation and of preferential trade between Great Britain and her colonies. He became a member of the Royal Society of Canada, and was president of the section dealing with English history and literature. The best known of his military works is his History of Modern Cavalry (London, 1877), which was awarded the Czar of Russia Prize in an open competition in 1879, and has been translated into German, Russian and Japanese. It remains one of the definitive works on the subject. In 1900 he published his reminiscences under the title of Soldiering in Canada.

He was a public defender of Upper Canada College, and was also known for virulent Anti-Americanism; after a proposal was made to erect a statue of George Washington in Westminster Abbey, he threatened that if it were built, he would go there to spit on it. Following the attempts by the Fenian raiders to "liberate" Canada between 1866 and 1871, Denison claimed a Yankee sword from the battlefield for a poker on his fire.

Nowadays there is a Canadian Forces “Lieutenant-Colonel George Taylor Denison III Armoury”, commonly known as “Denison Armoury” facility located at 1 Yukon Lane in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Armoury is the headquarters of 4th Canadian Division (formerly Land Force Central Area), Joint Task Force Central, and the 32 Canadian Brigade Group. It is also home to several units of the brigade.

Oliver’s uncle was also well known figure in Canada history - Lieutenant-Colonel Frederick Charles Denison CMG, MP (November 22, 1846 – April 15, 1896) was a Canadian militia officer, lawyer, and Member of the Canadian Parliament for West Toronto.

His military experience began in 1865, when he joined the Canadian Militia. In 1868 he was made a lieutenant, in 1872 captain; four years later major; and in 1884 was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. Denison saw active service during the Fenian raids in 1866 and in the Red River Expedition of 1870, as aide-de-camp to Lord Wolseley.

He was an alderman from St. Stephens ward on the Toronto City Council from 1878 to 1883. In 1881, he was elected chairman of the executive committee. From 1884 to 1885, Denison went to Egypt in command of the Canadian Voyageurs on the Nile employed by the Imperial Government in the Sudan Campaign. He distinguished himself during this war, and was not only given prominent mention in the dispatches but received a medal with two clasps. In 1885 he was made a companion of the Order of St Michael and St George.

He won the West Toronto Conservative nomination for the 1887 federal election over three other candidates, including incumbent parliamentarian James Beaty, Jr..He subsequently won a narrow victory over his Liberal opponent in the general election. He was re-elected in 1891, and died of stomach cancer while still in office in 1896.

LG 24 June 1898
The Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians), Sergeant Oliver Macklem Denison, from the South Staffordshire Regiment, to be Second Lieutenant, on augmentation. Dated 25th June 1898.

On retired pay - 14 Nov 1900 (Harts annual Army List 1908)

Burial

https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=68071286

Lieutenant (retired)
Prince of Wales' Leinster Regiment
Second son of Colonel George Taylor Denison of Heydon Villa, Toronto. 
 
Parents:
George Taylor Denison (1839 - 1925)
Caroline Denison (1842 - 1885)
 
Siblings:
Elsie Margaret Denison (____ - 1890)**
Mary Anne Denison Dunsford (1864 - 1941)*
Caroline Adelaide Kirkpatrick (1865 - 1947)*
Julia Ann Denison Nattress (1867 - 1956)*
George Taylor Denison (1869 - 1917)*
Oliver Macklem Denison (1874 - 1942)

Burial:
Saint Johns Cemetery on the Humber 
Toronto
Toronto Municipality
Ontario, Canada
 

 

 

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Hi Noor......

The following is from FMP and it looks like you will have to go to national archives.....

Mike

First name(s) Oliver Macklem
Last name Denison
Rank Lieutenant
Regiment The Prince Of Wales's Leinster Regiment
Year 1903-21
Archive The National Archives
Archive reference WO 374/19184
Series WO 374
Series description Wo 374 - Officers' Services, First World War, Personal Files
Record set British Army Service Records
Category Military Service & Conflict
Subcategory Regimental & Service Records
Collections from Great Britain, UK None

 

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I am happy to say I am the new steward of these medals, thanks to fellow GMIC user Noor. 

I have done much research in the past couple of months and have learned some interesting information which I will post here as time allows. While the Denison family is well documented and celebrated - the search was difficult as Oliver Macklem Denison is not mentioned in any literature on the family that I could see. When digging deeper there were bits and pieces of information regarding him in newspaper clippings and archival holdings, yet after 1904, he all but disappears and newspaper articles go so far as omitting any trace of his existence, using terms like "both sons" when speaking of Col George T Denison III's boys, though he had three sons. When he dies in Toronto in 1942, no death notices, obituaries of burial information appear in any local newspapers, unlike the full page spreads when other Denisons die. I contacted numerous archivists and consulted family websites with no information on the man or what happened.

 

 


The Hidden Denison: The Story of Lieutenant Oliver Macklem Denison.

Part 1.

Oliver Macklem Denison was born 7 August 1874 at Heydon Villa, Toronto, Ontario - second son of Col George T Denison III, a prominent figure in Canada's military history. His other brothers would famously serve in the South African and Great Wars.

From 1884 to 1891, Denison attends the prestigious Upper Canada College in keeping with family tradition.

After graduating, Denison is commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Canadian Militia's 7th Battalion London Fusiliers, and attends the Royal School of Infantry at London, Ontario.

 

nDohLr.jpg

 

Denison, promoted to Lieutenant, serves in the 7th Fusiliers until 1895. For Queen Victoria's 76th birthday, Denison participates in the Grand Military Review held in London, Ontario that same year.

 

ROkuRL.jpg

 

Suddenly, Denison resigns his commission and "pluckily" enlists as a private in the 2nd Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment, arriving in England in September 1895. His new battalion sailed to India for two years service at the Wellington station, then to Rangoon, Burmah for another two year posting (A History of the South Staffordshire Regiment p.114).

 

li6S05.jpg

zRU1UI.jpg

 

Denison, having progressed to the rank of Sergeant in the 2nd South Staffs, is made 2nd Lieutenant on augmentation to The Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians) - a British Army regiment originally raised in Canada but since relocated to Ireland as part of the Cardwell and Childers Reforms.

 

drwkND.jpg

 

In July 1898, Denison joins the 1st Leinsters at the Halifax station, in Nova Scotia. It will be the last infantry unit in the British Army to garrison Canada. Denison is likely one of the last (if not the last) Canadian-born officers of the Regiment.

 

few4cs.jpg

(Officers Group - 1st Bn Leinster Regiment, Halifax, ca. 1900 - Library and Archives Canada)

 

Col. Whitton's regimental history picks up the story:

"It is a vulgar error to associate Canada with perpetual frost and snow; as a matter a fact summers are hot and while at Halifax the thermometer touched 98°. There was plenty of tennis and cricket ; excellent fishing and delightful sailing both on the harbour and the North West Arm. And in more serious work the musketry camp on McNab's Island was extremely pleasant."

They got along well with sailors in the port city...

"We had, on the other hand, great friends in the Navy, and many were the cheery nights on board ship or in the mess-room at Wellington Barracks, where the two Services fraternized and ragged. 'Jacky' Fisher was the admiral, and under his regime there was no shortage of dancing becoming a lost art. His flagship, the Renown, was known as the House of Lords from the fact that among its officers were six scions of the peerage. These cheery entertainments would have been productive of enormous bills had it not been for the amazing cheapness of food and liquor. 'If memory serves aright, a small whisky and soda was about 5 cents or 2-1/2d. Eheu Fugaces."

Later documents would describe Denison as "practically a Teetotaller", so it's not clear if he would have partaken in the above antics. Aside from the Navy, the young officers would got along well with Halifax's inhabitants as well:

"In the winter there were, of course, skating, ice-hockey, sleighing and tobogganing, and the Battalion went in for ice-hockey to a great extent. These sports brought the officers in touch with the inhabitants a good deal and, in more than one archive consulted, there i an allusion to a custom extremely popular with detrimental subalterns by which, 'having settled on your particular charmer, it was customary to pair off for the season. There was no question of an engagement. It was quite customary to be asked out to dinner together, nor would there be any censorious criticism of little picnics 'a deux'. This camaraderie as between sexes was very delightful and all to the good.'"

These care-free times, however, would not last.

 

To be continued...

 

 

Edited by SemperParatus
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Hi,

I just sent you his comprehensive service file that  got. This explains why he retired, why there is no trace of him and why his family forgot him. Very very sad story...

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A traditional 'black sheep'?  Perhaps even a reverse remittance man - sent off to the 'mother country' to expiate his sins and paid to stay there?

Peter

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I imagine he was a bit of a black sheep to begin with, havent found any explanation as to why he lefy and joined the british army as a ranker... 

 

Thanks Noor I splurged and did the same - used the copying service from National Archives UK and received his Service File a little while back. Please keep everyone in suspense if you will. 

 

Cheers all

Edited by SemperParatus

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