British Empire Article

Aubrey Dennis

The author and his wife in 1988.

This article was originally printed in the Stirling Times on May 24th 1988:

It's rare to meet a couple celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary.

It's also rare when the same couple have woven so much into the fabric of their long lives together.

Aubrey and Florence Dennis , of Tuart Hill, have achieved both these things.

Aubrey (88) was involved in both world wars as a naval officer, and was part of the British Naval Expeditionary Force to Russia in 1919.

Florence (nee Jones) grew up in India and met her future husband aboard the ship Loyalty at a 1920 Christmas Party.

Clad in his dashing white mess jacket. Aubrey said he took one look at the pretty Florence and thought "She's my girl."

The couple were married in Bombay in 1923after Florence received her engagement ring by post from Adelaide, one of Aubrey's ports of call.

She said she had to wait until payday before she could collect the package as she couldn't afford the duty

The day after their wedding, Mr Dennis left on a 10 month voyage and being parted by the waves became characteristic of the course of their married life.

"All in all I think I saw him for a total of 18 months in the first 16 years," Mrs Dennis said

Commander Denns entered the Colonial civil service and was stationed in Nigeria for 24 years where he reached the position of assistant director of the Nigerian Marine Department.

Florence joined him there and helped in code-making and code deciphering and her ability saved her husband's life at one stage.

Aubrey was preparing to up anchor and sail out to sea when a boat cruised to sea when a boat cruised past with the words "Wife said you can't go" being shouted through a megaphone.

It was during WWII and German submarines waiting off the coast would have torpedoed the merchant ship if it had sailed.

For her efforts, Mrs Dennis was commended by the West African Flag Officer.

The happy couple have lived in Tuart Hill for 30 years and emigrated to Australia in 1952 when their only child, Norman, decided to marry an Australian girl.

The couple have two grandchildren, Christopher and Stefan, and two great -grandchildren, all living in the Eastern States.

Stefan is an actor and "has had roles in TV soap dramas such as Neighbours, Flying Doctors and Prisoner.

Aubrey said it was, team work and sharing a "common purse" that had kept them happy even though they "beg to differ at times", according to Florence.

They keep active and credited their remarkable health and vitality to walking, housework and longtime doctor and friend, Leo Marzo.

Mr Dennis is a Younger Brother of Trinity House in London.

Mrs Dennis too, recounts many highlights of travels to England and especially her young life spent in mysterious and beautiful India.

"India is a lovely place and it was my life," she said.

"I spoke many of the local languages and went to boarding school near Kashmir, in the north.

"I was very sad to leave India and even now I wonder about the lives of the native servants I once knew."

The Nigerian Marine's War Effort Article


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