Made with Xara
© Barns Green - A Local History of The Great War 2014
Return Return
Robert Arthur Denyer (1890-1914) - Pte 7665 1 st  Bn Coldstream Guards   Robert   Denyer    was   born   in   Cranleigh   on   the   22 nd    January   1890,   the   youngest   son   of   William   and   Fanny   Maria   Denyer   (nee   Knight). After   starting   working   life   as   a   postman   it   seems   that   Robert   decided   that   the   military   life   would   suit   him   better   and   signed   up   for   the Coldstream   Guards   in   February   1908   at   the   age   of   18   (although   his   papers   say   19).   This   decision   may   have   been   influenced   in   some part by his brother Christopher who was a career sailor in the Royal Navy. The   Guards   Regiments’   terms   of   service   at   that   time   were   3   years   with   the   colours   (i.e.   on   active   service)   and   9   years   with   the   reserve. Robert   served   his   3   years   at   home   with   the   1 st    Battalion   and   then,   in   February   1911   was   posted   to   the   reserve.   Hence,   at   the   time   of the 1911 census he was back home with his mother and brother, working as a labourer. However,   shortly   after   the   census,   on   June   11 th    1911,   he   was   taken   on   by   the   London,   Brighton   and   South   Coast   Railway   as   a   porter   at Christ’s Hospital station and it was from here that he answered his recall to the Regiment on the 5 th  August 1914. As   a   trained   soldier   Robert   was   straight   back   in   the   action   and   shipped   almost   straight   away   to   France   with   the   1 st    Battalion   Coldstream Guards   as   part   of   the   BEF   on   the   13 th    August.   The   Regiment   was   part   of   the   1 st    (Guards)   Brigade   of   the   1 st    Division   of   the   BEF   and   one   of the   first   divisions   into   France.   Crossing   to   Le   Havre   on   the   Dunvegan   Castle   they   then   marched   and   were   shipped   by   train   through Belgium   towards   the   advancing   German   army.   The   armies   met   at   the   Battle   of   Mons   and   although   casualties   were   relatively   low   the overwhelming   strength   of   the   German   force   soon   became   obvious   and   the   allies   were   forced   to   retreat   back   into   France.      It   was   the successful   rear-guard   action   at   the   Battle   of   the   Marne,   between   September   6 th    and   10 th that   finally   stopped   the   German   advance   and established   defensive   positions   for   the   BEF   and   the   French   Army.   This   is   generally   recognised   as   the   start   of   the   trench   warfare   for which   the   Great   War   is   remembered   most   keenly   and   it   was   in   the   following   offensive   –   the   Battle   of   the   Aisne   -   that   Robert   was   killed in action just four days later on 14 th  September 1914. The   War   Diary   gives   a   graphic   account   of   the   march   on   Cerny   and   the   subsequent   retreat   in   which   Robert   must   have   died,   which   like   so many other actions in the Great War, achieved very little. He   was   declared   Missing   in   Action   on   the   14 th    September   and   the   “official   presumption   of   death”   followed   shortly   after.   His   body   was never found and hence he has no known grave but is commemorated on the Le Ferte-Sous-Jouarre Memorial in France. He was awarded the 1914 Star, British War and Victory Medals for his service and is remembered on the Itchingfield War Memorial. Robert’s service record survives and can obtained for a fee from the Coldstream Guards Archives in London. .
The Fallen