Hawkins, Dennis Seymour (1923-1944)
Sherborne School, UK, Book of Remembrance for former pupils who died in the Second World War, 1939-1945.
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Credit: Sherborne School Archives, Abbey Road, Sherborne, Dorset, UK, DT9 3AP.
Details: Dennis Seymour Hawkins (1923-1944), born 3 November 1923, son of Major-General George Ledsam Seymour Hawkins, C.B., M.C., and Katharine Mariam Hawkins, of 'Thysldo', Southbourne, 37 Overcliff Drive, Boscombe, Hampshire.
Attended Sandle Manor School, Fordingbridge, Hampshire.
Attended Sherborne School (Harper House) September 1937-March 1942; scholar; upper 6th; School Prefect; Head of House; 1st XI cricket (1940, 1941); 1st XV rugby football (1941); Hockey (1941, 1942); CSM in JTC; PT Instructor with badge; member of Duffers.
WW2, Lieutenant, Royal Engineers, attached to 5 Field Company, Royal Bombay Sappers and Miners. Died on active service at Imphal, Burma, on 15 August 1944, aged 20.
Imphal War Cemetery, India, 2. A. 8. Inscription on his headstone: ‘GIVEN UNTO THE FUTURE’ www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2674666/hawkins,-denn...
Obituary in 'The Shirburnian', December 1944: 'D.S. Hawkins, whose death from typhus in Burma was announced in August 1944, had an outstanding career in Sherborne. He was Head of his House, in the XV, Cricket XI, and Hockey XI. No one at Sherborne could help loving him for his vigorous sense of humour, his sturdy forthrightness, and his loyalty. He was a great Head of his House and an unselfish Shirburnian. He was a most faithful correspondent after he left and only a few weeks before his death he had written asking for news of Sherborne, and saying how happy he was to be at last able to do some fighting. He is a great loss to his many Sherborne friends.'
Transcript of essay by D.S. Seymour about the bombing of Sherborne on 30 September 1940: ‘My impressions of the Air Raid, Sept 30th 1941. The siren having sounded, we drifted in the usual routine manner to the lower floor classrooms, where we sat at desks & on the floor. Not much work was done, & we chatted merrily until there were sounds of increased activity; the master in the classroom thought he heard the “ ’um of an ‘einkel”, & went out to investigate. His impression proved correct, for about 10 seconds later he slid back into the classroom, slammed the door & lay on the floor, encouraging us to do so too. I found this impossible, as the floor was already occupied in my immediate surroundings, so bent down covering my head with my hands. Then the fun began; the bombs came nearer until one shook the place. Then came a very near one which blew in the windows, and left a strong reek of cordite. During these close ones I was thinking to myself how I might get killed, would it be a bit of bomb, or a brick or beam? I also had a strong feeling of “Here! They can’t do this to me.” After it had cleared up, there came the inevitable feeling of relief, & I wondered if anyone had got hurt or killed; and [?ended] that the frightened feeling had passed off came a certain amount of excitement, this was definitely somewhat out of the ordinary. At the time there is rather a tendency not to feel sympathetic with those who may have been killed, it is rather a feeling of “there was just as much chance of me being killed, & they just happened to be unlucky.” It is not until afterwards that one realises just how lucky one was. Lastly, on hearing that no one in the school was hurt, & seeing the holes in the Courts, & hearing of others, I am sure even the most sceptical must have begun to suspect that there is a God in Heaven.'