-H.M.S. Hood Crew Information-
H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour
Memorials to Men Lost in the Sinking of Hood, 24th May 1941

Updated 06-May-2014

We will remember them
Chainbar divider

In Remembrance of
CYRIL ARTHUR JAMES DEAN

Photo of Stoker 1st Class Cyril Arthur James, courtesy of his sister, Mabel Leach, 2001
Service: Royal Navy
Rank: Stoker 1st Class
Service Number: P/KX 96055
Date Joined Hood: Unknown
Biographical Information: Cyril was born 10 February 1920. He was the son of James and Daisy Dean, of Iffley, Oxfordshire. Educated at St Frideswide, Oxford. At age 14 he worked for the Vicarage of St Thomas the Martyr.

Cyril was also a close childhood friend of future Oxford Lord Mayor Olive Gibb. Here is how she remembered him in her autobiography:
"As children we followed very closely our parents' pattern of behaviour and, with very few exceptions, shared most of our things, meagre though they were. If one of us, with our weekly penny, bought six of [Ada Lappage's] ripe bananas we kept one for ourselves and gave one each to our friends knowing we would be repaid by an appropriate share in their purchases of gob-stoppers, licorice braids, sherbet dabs, mint humbugs, and pop-corn. I once broke this ethical code in a disgustingly mean and shabby way, the memory of which can still flood me with shame. This disgraceful incident happened outside Butt's general shop at the corner of Woodbine Place and the High Street. I rounded the corner and bumped into one of my closest friends Cyril Dean. He was about a year younger than me, a good looking boy with dark curly hair and the eldest of a family of six. His father, who worked in the building industry, was often out of work in bad weather, and Cyril's Mum took in washing from the big houses and shops to help out the family finances. On this particular day he was carrying a large wicker laundry basket, full of washing, and he could scarcely see over the top. As we chatted he suddenly exclaimed, 'Coo, look there's sixpence on the pavement'. As quick as lightning, and before he could put down his basket, I snatched the sixpence and made off with it. What is even worse is that my conscience pricked me afterwards and I bought him a ½d Sherbet dab. I often think this wretched betrayal is second only to Judas Iscariot's, for Cyril was my devoted friend and I knew his family was much poorer than mine. When I read, during the war, that he went down with H.M.S. Hood and was drowned in a sea of burning oil I was filled with unbearable remorse, as well as sorrow. Occasionally my friends tell me I shall get into heaven not through any virtue on my part but because St Peter will get fed up with arguing with me at the Gate. Little do they know that I am guilty of one sin I can never argue my way through. The dreadful thing is that if anyone is going to argue my case with St Peter it will be Cyril for he was that sort of kid."

Cyril later underwent training to become a fireman. He enlisted in the Navy when he turned 18. He was ultimately posted to H.M.S. Hood. He was 21 years old at the time of his loss. We have no additional information.

If you have any additional details, please contact us.



Memorial Information
Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Panel 55, Column 1 (click to view panel)
Also memorialised at

St Thomas the Martyr Parish Church, Oxford (click to view photo)
and
Hood Chapel, Church of St John the Baptist, Boldre, Hampshire
Additional Photographs
None at this time.
Sources
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Cyril's sister, Mabel Leach (photo & information, 2001)
Olive Gibbs 'Our Olive': The Autobiography of Olive Gibbs (Oxford, 1989), pp.12-13
Mark Hathaway (memorial photo & information, January 2006)