Sunday, March 15, 2015

Lieutenant Michael Wallace Blencowe Deane, 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers

Little is known about Michael Wallace Blencowe Deane and his service record has not yet been released to the general public. 

He was born in Eccles, Lancashire in 1896, his birth registered in the December quarter of that year at Barton upon Irwell. He was the son of Richard Woodforde Deane of Bedford and Harriet Deane (nee Blencowe) of Chailey.  The 1901 census records the Deane family living at 145 Canterbury Road, Gillingham, Kent.  His father, a career soldier, is recorded as a 41 year old major in the Lancashire Fusiliers.  Other members of the family are noted as Harriet (mother, aged 38), Frances (daughter, aged six, born in Eccles, Lancashire), Michael (aged four), Richard J[ohn] (son, aged two, born in Fleetwood) and Dorothea (daughter, aged one, born in Malta).  In addition there were three servants: 22 year old Ellen Walder, a nurse, born in Chailey; 26 year old Louisa Philpot, a parlour maid from Rochester, and 18 year old Ada Knight, a nursery maid from Reading. 

Harriet Deane was the daughter of John George Blencowe of Bineham.  Her sister, Florence C Drummond, would lose a son, Frederick John Drummond, in the First World War and her siblings, John Ingham Blencowe, Robert Campion Blencowe and Frances Isabel Blencowe, would all play leading roles in Chailey during the First World War. 

A full picture of Michael Deane’s school career has not yet come to light but he certainly attended West Downs School, Winchester, playing for the 1st XI cricket team between 1908 and 1910, captaining the side in 1910.  He also played for the school football team between 1908 and 1909, captaining that side in 1909. After leaving West Downs he went on to study at Winchester College.

On 12th January 1915, The London Gazette published the following information: “The undermentioned Gentlemen Cadets from the Royal Military College to be Second Lieutenants.  Dated 13th January 1915. INFANTRY. The Lancashire Fusiliers. Michael Wallace Blencowe Deane” 

Second Lieutenant Michael Deane served first in Gallipoli and latterly in Flanders.  Chailey Parish Magazine noted in November 1915 that he was serving with the Lancashire Fusiliers and in July 1916 indicated that he has been promoted to Lieutenant.  In January 1917, the additional information that he had been wounded was reported.  Three months later, in April 1917, there was a further note to say that he had been Mentioned in Despatches.  This information is repeated up to and including the final roll call of Chailey-connected serving men published in July 1919.  

Michael Deane's grandson notes that his grandfather was wounded in the arm in Flanders but survived the war and remained in the army until 1947; a career soldier like his father.  During the Second World War he was in charge of an Army Training Battalion for new recruits in North Wales.  He lived in Stonegate, Kent until his death in 1974.
Michael's brother, Richard John Deane, also served his King and Country during the First World War and was accidentally killed on 18th July 1917.

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