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  • Nottinghamshire Archives
Person Details
22 Dec 1878
South Street, Mayfair, London
William was the only son of William Evelyn Denison (1843-1916) of Ossington Hall, Nottinghamshire, and his wife Lady Elinor née Amherst (1850-1939). He was educated at Mr. Cameron’s School at Mortimer, Bucks, and at Mr. Radcliffe’s House at Eton, and at New College, Oxford. He inherited Ossington Hall in 1916, and was a J.P. for Nottinghamshire, and a Lieutenant in the Notts (Sherwood Rangers) Imperial Yeomanry. William died unmarried and in his will he left his estates to his mother for her life. She conveyed her life interest in the whole of the estate apart from the Hall itself to the heir in expectation, W.F.E. Denison's cousin, William M.E. Denison, in 1933. The title, though, died with Evelyn and the family’s fortunes declined. It is said that gambling assisted this decay with, apparently, an entire farm being wagered on a £25,000 bet in Monte Carlo. During the Second World War, the RAF were stationed here and remnants of the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes club, camp cinema and other buildings can be found in the overgrown woodland. The hall itself was used for accommodation. The damage to the house was uneconomic to repair and the house was pulled down in 1963 following a two-day sale of the contents.
After leaving Oxford he was called to the Bar, but never practised. He took much interest in county business, and in all country pursuits, but his chief interest was toward church matters. He became a valued member of the English Church Union.
26 Mar 1918
204759 - CWGC Website
Second Lieutenant
15th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
He died at Amiens on 26 March 1918 of wounds received in action at Curlu Wood between Clery and Mericourt on 24 March. He was buried in St. Pierre Cemetery, Amiens, France (grave ref: IX.G.1)
Personal inscription on CWGC headstone: 'Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory' Inscription family memorial, Holy Rood church, Ossington: 'To the glory of God and in proud and loving memory of WF Evelyn Denison, Lieut 15th Sherwood Foresters. Born Dec 22nd 1878 died at Amiens in France March 26th 1918 of wounds received in action March 24th. Right dear in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.' National Probate Calendar Index of Wills 1918: DENISON William Frank Evelyn of Ossington Hall Newark, Nottinghamshire second-lieutenant 15th Service Battalion Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire regiment died between 22 March and 28 March 1918 in France or Belgium. Probate London 26 July to Alfred Denison esquire and Lady Elinor Denison widow. Effects £157,698 12s. 5d. Resworn £161,671 14s. 11d. "Letters Written by William Frank Evelyn Denison of Ossington to his Mother" published privately. When the Great War broke out in August, 1914, his father had just undergone a most serious operation, and it was thought impossible he could live more than a few weeks. This prevented Evelyn from joining up at once; but in January, 1916, he applied for a Commission, and, after being refused in account of his age, he succeeded in obtaining his papers; these were lost almost immediately by the War Office, entailing nearly six months delay. At length he succeeded in being sent to a Training Camp at Newmarket, where the life was, to say the least of it, very rough. After being again delayed, first be a severe attack of Influenza and Bronchitis, which incapacitated him for a month, and then by Measles, which was raging in the Camp, he was finally gazetted to the 3rd Battalion Sherwood Foresters at Sunderland. Thence he was sent to the 15th Battalion on Active Service in France. His letters tell the story of his Military Training at the Camps at Newmarket and Sunderland, and afterwards of his life on Active Service at the Front in France, from June 1917, to March, 1918, when he was mortally wounded at Curlu Wood, between Clery and Mericourt, and died two days later in Amiens. Lady Elinor Denison brought back to Ossington the battlefield crosses from the graves of both her son and Private Harry Holt (killed in action, 22 February1918) who is commemorated on the parish war memorials in the church and village. The crosses were installed in the church but that of Lt Denison became severely damaged by woodworm and was removed and destroyed along with the panelling to which it had been attached. WMA27388 (Moyes & Denison). This memorial comprises two pressed metal tapes from two battlefield crosses which originally marked the graves of Lieut. Denison and G/18869 Sgt Wilfrid Blake Moyes MM, The Queens (Royal West Surrey Regt), who each died of injuries received in action on 26 March 1918. Both men are buried in St Pierre Cemetery, Amiens; apparently in the same plot (grave ref. IX.G.1). CWGC record, WB Moyes: 'Son of the Rev WB Moyes and Clara Moyes of The Manse, Strathblane, Stirlingshire. Enlisted Aug. 1914, educated at Uppingham and New College Oxford, took his MA at Glasgow University when studying for the Scotch Bar.' The personal inscription on Moyes' headstone reads: 'O thou soul of my soul I shall clasp thee again and with God be the rest'. Further information: www.universitystory.gla.ac.uk/221-biography. 'Ossington, The Denisons and their world', Trevor Flecknall, published Wilson Group Services 2013. Chapter 20: 'William Frank Evelyn ('Evy') Denison.'
Remembered on


  • Nottinghamshire Archives
    W F E Denison Portrait - Nottinghamshire Archives
  • Family memorial, Holy Rood Church, Ossington.  Photograph Rachel Farrand (May 2011)
    William Frank Evelyn Denison - Family memorial, Holy Rood Church, Ossington. Photograph Rachel Farrand (May 2011)
  • Family memorial, Ossington Holy Rood Church. Photograph Rachel Farrand (May 2011)
    William Frank Evelyn Denison - Family memorial, Ossington Holy Rood Church. Photograph Rachel Farrand (May 2011)