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Auction: 24001 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
Lot: 217

A husband and wife's collection

An unusual Great War M.C. group of four to Lieutenant D. M. Dening, Balloon Section, Royal Air Force, late Royal Field Artillery, an Old Otteregian, who served with the british consulate in Manaos, Brazil prior to the war and returned to that country afterwards, only to die having fatal struck his head whilst swimming

Military Cross, G.V.R.; 1914-15 Star (2.Lieut. D. M. Dening. R.F.A.); British War and Victory Medals (Lieut. D. M. Dening R.A.F.), very fine overall (4)

Three: Sister M. G. Dening, (nee Kerr), British Red Cross & St.John of Jerusalem

Queen's South Africa 1899-1902, no clasp (Sister M. G. Kerr. I.Y. H.P. Staff.); British War and Victory Medals (M. G. Denning. B.R.C. & St.J.J.), note misspelled surname, very fine overall

M.C. London Gazette 26 July 1918, the original citation states:

'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in salving Government stores and attending to wounded under heavy shell fire. On the 3 April 1918 with a party of men, five of whom had already been wounded, this Officer repeatedly returned to the balloon position at Fosse, which was being heavily shelled, to salve Government stores and to supervise the removal of his balloon for packing. Owing to the roads being under heavy enemy fire, it was impossible to remove the balloon, but the next morning he went up again and was successful in getting the balloon and other Government stores away, during which period he was subjected to heavy machine gun fire from the enemy. It was largely due to Lt Dening's courage and initiative that the unit was enabled to remain ready for action.'

Douglas Montgomery Dening was born at Bath on 8 June 1877 and was educated at the Old Boys School, Ottery St Mary. Prior to the Great War he served with the British Vice-Consul in Manaos, Brazil and was a local representative of the Booth Shipping Line, indeed it is noted on his service records that he was fluent in Portuguese. Dening married Miss M. G. Kerr on 7 September 1904 in Brixton, London and joined up briefly on outbreak of the Great War with King Edward's Horse before receiving a commission into the Royal Field Artillery in December 1914.

Entering the war in France from February 1915 he was first wounded on 13 October 1915 and again on 10 April 1916 this second injury also bringing a severe concussion. Sent for convalescence in England on 15 April 1916 he was transferred to the 81st Battery, Reserve Divisional Artillery. Ordered to report to the Headquarters, Royal Flying Corps on 18 August 1917, Dening was attached to the R.F.C. as a Balloon Officer.

He was promoted to Flight Lieutenant on 1 January 1918 and achieved the altitude record of 5,250 feet made at Ypres in the same month. Posted back to France from 8 February 1918, he added to his skills with a course on telephony on 11 March 1918 becoming a Qualified Observer on 22 May 1918. Dening was finally appointed an Acting Balloon Commander with 42 Balloon Section on 18 August 1918, not long after his gallantry winning heroism.

Admitted to Hospital again on 1 January 1919 he was released 8 days later re-joining No.42 Kite Balloon Section. Dening went on to serve in Germany with the Royal Air Force at the Headquarters in Cologne as part of No.2 Balloon Training Wing. leaving the Royal Air Force in August 1919 he returned to Brazil in the immediate post-war years. Dening was prosecuted in Rio de Janeiro, for 'irregular wearing of R.A.F. uniform' in June 1922. However he did not have long to live despite his relative youth, instead drowning at Praia Flamengo, Rio de Janeiro on 7 November 1922 following a dive from a balcony which saw his skull fractured on a rock.

Mary G. Dening (nee Kerr) had originally trained at the Evelina Hospital for two years, and Leeds General Infirmary for three years. First seeing service overseas in South Africa with the Imperial Yeomanry Hospital Staff, Pretoria. After the war she married Douglas Dening at Brixton, London on 7 September 1904.

The outbreak of the Great War saw her again volunteer for service, enlisting with the British Red Cross on 29 September 1914. Posted serves overseas at No.18 Tournon, Aix les Bains in September 1914 she served there until April 1915 before joining the No.2 Anglo-Belge, Calais.

Further posted to the Serqueux Rest Station between May-June 1915. Her contract expired there, and she returned to Britain, appearing in various medical establishments for the duration of the war, including the 19th Durham V A Hospital, Windlestone Hall between 14 July - 10 September 1915.

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