Dennis William Reynolds (1884-1969)

This page was constructed by Paul Hardy and contains information about his maternal grandfather. Click on any photo for a larger version.

Life Summary

Dennis William Reynolds was born 3-Jun-1884 in Sheffield. He died 08-Sep-1969 in Huntingdon, and was buried in Shiregreen Cemetery, Sheffield. He was a mechanical engineer, working as a turner for Vickers in the River Don foundry in Sheffield. He lost an eye to a steel shard from an industrial lathe, and had a glass eye replacement, which was pretty realistic, so most people didn't know. He smoked a pipe, and liked Player's Navy Cut tobacco. He lived in Sheffield at 327 Newman Rd in High Wincobank then 340 Bellhouse Road in Shiregreen, then retired to Shiregreen Cottage in Fanny Hands Lane in Ludford near Louth in Lincolnshire.
Dennis as child

and
Dennis and Edith.
Dennis as a child
Dennis and Edith

Wife

He married Edith Ellen Rippon in 1909. She weas born 29-Jan-1883, and was from a Sheffield cutlery family. Her family refused to let her marry Dennis as he was the son of a publican (later police constable), so she waited until her 21st birthday and got married that day, remaining happily married for 60 years. She died 9-Nov-1964 in Louth, Lincs.

Edith was a fine amateur singer (they met through music) and had sung for Sir Henry Wood. As she got older, she changed to doing public recitation and poetry.

Children

They had three children: Tragically George Geoffrey (Geoff), who survived the war, died in a mid-air collision soon after, when transporting VIPs, hit by trainee pilot. Geoff had been a naval pilot and was on Ark Royal when it was sunk, but flew off to Malta, and stayed there through the German bombing. He got the Distinguished Service Medal in 1942.
Bill and Winifred.

and
Geoff and Edith.
Bill and Win
Geoff and Edith
Bill's Wedding.

and
At Ludford with Win and her children.
Bill's Weddding
Ludford

Documents

Birth Certificate

and
Bank Book.
Dennis as a child
Bank Book

Work

Dennis was a steel mechanic, giving his occupation as Engineer's Turner. He worked on the manufacture of big guns during both wars, for Vickers, later English Steel, and now Sheffield Forgemasters.
Vickers 1916 Gun.

and
Back of Gun Postcard.
Vickers 1916 gun
Back of Gun Postcard

During both wars he was not called up for military service, because his engineering skills were needed more. Below is his "On War Service" badge which he wore to avoid being thought skiving. The final photo is much later, at English Steel, probably after his retirement.

On War Service Badge.

and
Badge Rear.

and
Dennis with big gun
On War Service Badge
Badge Rear
Dennis with big gun

Artifacts

There was a tradition of steel workers creating artifacts from scrap metal, and I have three stainless steel utensils made by Dennis - a toasting fork, a spatula, and a poker, all made from stainless steel. These must have been some of the very first domestic implements made from stainless steel, probably in the 1940s.
Stainless Steel Utensils

and
Utensils underside.
Stainless Steel Utensils
Stainless Steel Utensils
Stainless Poker.
Stainless Poker

Interests and Hobbies

Dennis was a practical and intelligent man, and a pleasure to have known. He had very wide-ranging interests from science to philosophy, and could talk coherently about almost any subject. Even after he retired he still made anything work. He had an ex USA army radio shack as his workshop next to the cottage and made all sorts of things.

Dennis was a multi-talented, forward-looking man. He was musical - he sang and played the piano. He tinkered with electrics and thermionics, building early home radio crystal sets and valve amplified receivers. He added an electric motor and battery to his bicycle to help him get up the hill to the village. Below is his home-made electrical circuit prototyping box, set up as a valve-rectifying low-voltage DC power supply.

Electric Circuitry

and
Electric box
Electrics
Electric box

He was a keen chess player, carrying on postal chess games with distant players. His bone chess set is pictured below. In his retirement he became a senior chess champion of Lincolnshire. He also enjoyed playing card games, particularly cribbage and Solo whist, and his home-made cribbage board is pictured below.

Chess Set.

and
Cribbage Board.
Chess Set
Cribbage Board

Aging

Dennis and Edith had an active retirement, with a big vegetable garden, keeping chickens, and two pigs (Pride and Prejudice). Unfortunately Pride managed to eat Dennis's glasses which fell into the pig pen, fell ill, and could not be sold as meat!
Pig Sty.

and
Dennis, Edith, John.

and
Dennis, Win, John, Paul.
Pig Sty
DWR EER JF
DWR Win JF PGH

They remained well until Edith fell and broke her hip - she never recovered well and died in hospital. Dennis declined afterwards, and after a couple of years alone at Ludford, dementia set in, and he came to live for three months at a time alternately with his children Bill and Win. Eventually he was beyond family care, and went into a geriatric hospital in Chesterton, Cambridge, and then on to a hospital in Huntingdon where he died on 8th September 1969.


Back to Family Page