Grave Number 1125
John was born in Kings Langley on 20th June 1907 and was the third of 8 children born to George Debenham and May Bird. His father worked at the John Dickinson’s paper mill as a paper stainer and they lived at 4 Langley Hill.
John married Grace Eleanor Evans in Berkhamsted in Q3 1935. She lived at 6 Park Street, Berkhamsted; her old brother Ernest is buried in Rectory Lane in 1921 with full military honours.
John worked for the Berkhamsted Co-op, driving their horse drawn van.
The young couple lived at 14 Cross Oak Road. They had two daughters, Joan (1938-2014) and Brenda. He died at the Hertfordshire County Sanatorium Ware Park, Herts on 3rd January 1945. The sanitorium was specifically for TB patients. When he died, John was a Private in the 7th Hertfordshire Battalion of the Home Guard.
He left behind his wife who had the words “BEYOND THE SEA OF DEATH LOVE LIVES YESTERDAY, TODAY AND FOR EVER” added to his Commonwealth War Graves Headstone.
Brenda wrote to say ‘You asked about my father. It is very sad but I have no memories of him. All I can tell you is that he was in the Home Guard (This is the only photo of him in uniform). I am sorry to say he died of TB in ’45.
Research by Janice Boakes with additional information and photos from Brenda Fowler, John’s daughter.