Albert Fletcher & Thomas Denton

A few years after my wife and I were married I decided to research our family histories and to our surprise we found that both of our grandfathers had died on the same day, 17th June 1940 in northwest France. Both men were part of the allied forces trying to escape France as it was overrun by German forces, some of the 50,000 that didn’t make it off the beaches at Dunkirk. My grandfather Thomas Fredrick Denton was a sergeant in 98 squadron RAF and made it as far as the Lancastria which was anchored in the bay at St Nazairre. The Lancastria was bombed by German planes and sunk with a loss of life running into the thousands. Karen’s grandfather Albert Fletcher was a corporal in the North Staffordshire Regiment of the Army, and whilst some reports suggested he may have also made it to the Lancastria, it is believed he died in the Luftwaffe bombing of the railway station at Rennes, the bomb struck a munitions train creating a massive explosion resulting in the loss of over 800 lives.


Bombing of Rennes railway station
Survivors of the Lancastria
The sinking of the Lancastria


After we were married and before we knew our grandfathers story we had a family holiday in northwest France, my wedding ring was lost in the sea and we purchased a new ring from a small shop in Quimper. This year we will be married 25 years and like to romantically believe that the spirit of our grandfathers sealed our bond with the ring we purchased and we want to bring them together in a memorial stone.



Mark and Karen Denton ( maiden name Fletcher )

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