Dennis’ life before WW2 (December 1916-April 1939)

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Dennis with (probably) his brother Geoffrey on his bike

Dennis was born on 16/12/1916 at 16 Hannover Road in Willesden, Middlesex, which is part of London. His mother is Grace Lilian Ada Trinder (nee Wright) and his father is William Thomas Trinder, who works in the boot trade. They may have met through the boot trade, in fact – but that’s another story. I will link it here when I have time to tell it.

Dennis is described by his little sister Pauline as being great fun – carrying her on his shoulders when he visited. He was well thought of by all the family he grew up with. The photographs below show a boy (he is 22 or under in all these pictures) who had a keen interest in the outdoors, and in sport, and who knew how to have a good time – see the picture of him in an Aladdin costume, blackface and ice-skates(!)

The Dennis I see in the pictures, and the Dennis I hear about from his friends in Tamborine Mountain, have a continuity with each other. These two accounts of him jar with what Mary’s sons say about him. In fact, the accounts could not be more opposite – apart from the love of drink and cigarettes, and the fact that he was tall.

Here is a picture of Dennis taken in August 1917, when he was nine months old. He was visiting Nottingham, possibly to meet Grace’s parents, who were still living there.

In December 1919 in Wandsworth, Dennis’ sister Joyce Trinder was born, and in 1924 his brother Thomas “Geoffrey” Trinder was born in Cheshire. Dennis clearly moved around a lot as a child. However, he appears to be content – even positively jovial – in the photographs of him as a boy. There are several from Broughton park. The picture of him on the bike is definitely of Dennis (at the back) and possibly of his little brother Geoffrey (at the front, aged around 7).

By 1932, Dennis and his family had moved to Prestwich. There is a photograph of him smiling in what looks like it might be a suburban garden or possibly the grounds of a school.

Dennis attended Manchester Grammar School for boys, now just Manchester Grammar School. He was in the cricket team in 1933 (back row, tall, third from the left).

In 1934 there is a picture of Dennis in a garden in Prestwich. This same garden appears several times throughout the photographs. I’ve shared this picture with Manchester Grammar School old boys club, and asked whether they might be able to identify any of hte other boys – it’s a long shot, but it would be nice to know.

By the time he is 18, Dennis is a very keen traveller, and seems to like the outdoors. There are pictures of him in Wrexham in 1935:

In the Broads (waterways in Norfolk and Suffolk) in a swim suit in 1935. Dennis is only 18 at this point, so obvious multiple lipomas would not be expected. In other words, if this were the only photo we had, it would not indicate that he didn’t have lipomatits, (click here for a link to what that is and why it’s relevant). Lipomatitis only starts developing during puberty. However, it’s worth noting that none are visible.

Climbing Helm Crag near Grasmere in the lake district. No obvious lipoma.

And camping at Trossachs, a national park which includes Loch Lomond (in Scotland).

As well as enjoying the outside, Dennis enjoyed “hi jinks.” I’m not sure what collection of circumstances could lead to him being dressed up in black face, in an Arabian Nights costume, with a Dutch girl and a Cossack, on an ice-rink, wearing ice-skates, but whatever the circumstances, it looked like fun.

He also went to Largs in 1938, which is in the Clyde Muirshiel national park, south of the Trossachs national park. As he visited several locations in Scotland in 1939, I’m guessing that this was in a single visit. I’m not sure who he went with or where he got the funds. I’m guessing it might have been Mary. The photos are intimate, there is nobody else in the photos, and Mary has a lot of them, compared with photos from earlier years. However, this is speculation.


He then visits Newcastle in 1939 – although there is no further context to this.

And Killiecrankie, which is in the Cairngorms national park. I suspect that all the Scottish pictures were taken on one “grand tour” of Scotland’s national parks, and since he is wearing his swimming costume in some of them and looking relaxed, I’m imagining that it’s summer. That said, he signed up for the Army in April 1939, so maybe they were just tougher in the old days. Again, there are no visible lipoma (although he is only 18, these would not be expected to be numerous or large by this point).

Then in April 1939, on Hitler’s birthday, Dennis signed up to fight the fascists in World War Two. I will link here to that page when I have completed it.

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