Smallman, Denis Harold (No. 247203)

Smallman, Denis Harold (Denis)


No. 247203, 7th Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment

Killed in action on Saturday 8 July 1944 (aged 26)


Cambes-en-Plaine War Cemetery, Calvados, France (Row G. 2)


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Lichfield Cathedral

Holy Trinity and St. Silas with Immanuel Church of Ireland Church, Belfast


Denis Harold Smallman’s birth was registered in the first quarter of 1917 in Edmonton, Middlesex and he was a son of James and Mary Alice Smallman (nee Sarchfield) whose marriage was registered in the first quarter of 1908 in Holburn, London.  In the 1911 census James Smallman described himself as a Naval Policeman and during the First World War he served as a Master-at-Arms in the Royal Navy.

James and Mary Alice Smallman had four children:

James Leslie (born 1911 in St. Pancras, London, served with the Royal Indian Navy)

Eileen H. (born 1915)

Denis Harold (born 1917)

Ronald David Reginald (born 1921, served with the Royal Artillery)

In the 1920s the Smallman family moved to Belfast and they lived at 24 Knutsford Drive (off the Cliftonville Road) when James was employed as a Head Warder in Crumlin Road Gaol.  Later they moved to 1 Kingsdale Park, Cherryvalley, and Denis Smallman worked as a coachbuilder with Belfast Corporation Transport (BCT).  He was also a Boys’ Brigade Captain in Belfast and a Lay Reader in the Church of Ireland.

In 1939 Denis Smallman married Emelia Lavinia Millicent Robst.  Emelia Robst was born in 1908 in Colchester and before the Second World War she held the position of Lady’s Companion – for a time in the British Embassy in Berlin, and also in Portland Castle, Dorset.  It was while she was living in Portland Castle that she met Leslie Smallman and they planned to marry but these plans came to naught and instead Emelia Robst married Leslie’s brother Denis.

Denis and Emelia Smallman had two sons:

Michael (Mike, born 8 April 1941)

John (born September 1942)

Mike Smallman was born in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire and he was baptised in St. James’s Church of Ireland Church, Antrim Road, Belfast.

In the 1940s Denis, Emelia, Mike, and John Smallman moved to Ballywalter where they lived in Strand Park.  Denis joined the Army and served with the 6th Airborne Division.  He was wounded in action in France and taken home to Northern Ireland to recuperate.  He returned to France with the South Staffordshire Regiment and was killed in action during the Battle of Charnwood.  His Chaplain was the Rev Alan Alexander Buchanan who was Mentioned In Despatches during the Battle of Arnhem in September 1944.  In 1955 the Rev Buchanan became Rector of Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s) and later Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland.

Lieutenant Denis Harold Smallman (No. 247203) was 26 when he was killed in action during Operation Charnwood, the objective of which was to capture the German occupied French city of Caen.

Lieutenant Denis Harold Smallman (No. 247203) was buried in Cambes-en-Plaine War Cemetery and there is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:





Lieutenant Denis Harold Smallman (No. 247203) is commemorated in the Roll of Honour for the South Staffordshire Regiment in Lichfield Cathedral and on the Roll of Honour in Holy Trinity and St. Silas with Immanuel Church of Ireland Church, Belfast.  After Denis Smallman died, his widow and two sons, Mike, and John, continued to live in Strand Park, Ballywalter.  Later, Mike Smallman served with the Royal Air Force and John served with the Army.

Denis Harold Smallman’s mother, Mary Alice Smallman, died on 11 February 1959 (aged 72) and she was buried in Belfast City Cemetery (Glenalina Extension Grave U. 221).  His father, James Smallman, was living at 19 Sunningdale Grove, Belfast when he died on 27 December 1967 (aged 87).  James Smallman was buried in the same grave as his wife.

Denis Harold Smallman’s widow Emelia died on 28 July 1990 and on 24 September 1990 her ashes were interred in the Garden of Remembrance at Ballywalter (Trinity) Church of Ireland Church.