Death of Canvey Veteran Worker

Standard Recorder 19th March 1942

Henry Thomas Dedman was born on Canvey in 1862 the same year his father, also called Henry, brought the family to Canvey Island. The Dedman family were mainly agricultural labourers, and Henry snr came from Mundon near Maldon, Essex. This obituary to Henry Thomas Dedman was published in the Southend Standard on the 19th March 1942, spelling his name Deaman instead of Dedman.

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Sixty Years Work on Sea Defences

By the passing of Mr Henry Thomas Dedman of Green Avenue, The Village, Canvey Island has lost a veteran sea-wall worker, who spent over sixty years in the maintenance of the sea defences of the Island.

It was in 1881, following the breach in the sea-wall at the Leigh Beck end of the Island that Mr Dedman first took up this work forhe was one of the Islanders engaged with soldiers from Tilbury Fort to stop the encroaching waters. This 1881 breach was a serious matter for the Island, for through it many acres of farmland went into the Estuary never to be reclaimed. A new inner defence wall was built across the rear of the breach and this now forms the sea-wall at the spot. Mr Dedman could recall how the whole length of the wall went, flooding the eastern end of the Island and the south side as far as Haven Road in the Village itself. Half a dozen horses and some 25 head of cattle were rescued from Leigh Beck Farm, but some pigs were lost in the floods. The cost to the Island Commission was covered by a promissory note lodged with Sparrow’s Bank at Rochford and guaranteed by the Commissioners themselves, who reported at the next meeting of the Commission that their efforts had been successful and had effectually protected the Island from the spring tides.

Mr Dedman had further experience of flooding for in November 1897, there was another breach, which resulted in the flooding of the north side of the Island. In his later association with the wall work, Mr Dedman was put in charge of the Island wall men and he is now succeeded by one of his sons as foreman.

He was married at Canvey Island Parish Church to Miss Eliza Noakes on December 27th, 1886 and they celebrated their golden wedding in 1936 at No 3 Chase Cottages, where they had lived for nearly half a century. They had two sons and two daughters. Mrs Dedman died about two years ago.

The funeral took place on Wednesday, at St Katherine’s Churchyard, Canvey Village when the family mourners were deceased’s sons, daughters and grandchildren. The Canvey Island Commission was represented by Mr E Lazzell, the Dyke Inspector. There was also a wreath from the Canvey Island Commission workers.

Comments about this page

  • Very interesting, I believe this man to be my great grandfather, his grandson John (Jack) Dedman sadly passed on in 2010 aged 84 one of his sons,(Andrew) works on seawalls and rivers in Wales, I myself followed my father into farming but only for a few years in the 1980’s

    By David Dedman (24/04/2012)

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