"Dinnaken House" - Historical Context
The name"Dinnaken House" has a solid historical foundation.
On the 15th of September 1916, the first day of the Battle of Flers
~ Courcelette (and the first day that "Tanks" ever went
into action) the Officer pictured on the right, Stuart Henderson
Hastie, from Edinburgh, took his tank "D17" at the head
of the advance down Flers High Street , reaching the village green
where the 41st Division Memorial is now situated. At that point,
under heavy enemy bombardment and with the supporting infantry falling
back, he turned round and returned back towards Longueval, passing
straight past the front wall of what is now Dinnaken House. Hastie
and his crews' actions led to one of the memorable signals of the
day, "A tank is walking up the High Street of Flers, with
the British Army cheering behind"
Stuart Henderson Hastie was born at No 6 North Merchiston Avenue,
Edinburgh, on the 7th of September 1889. He was the son of Thomas
Hastie, a Tool Manufacturers Assistant, and Flora Jane Blair Hastie,
Educated at George Heriots School, Edinburgh, and Edinburgh University,
he had served for four years in Edinburgh University Officers Training
Corps. He applied for a commission 22/3/15, his preference noted
as 4th Battalion Highland Light Infantry.
He was medically examined 23/3/15 and recorded as, height 6 ft
11⁄2 inches; chest 331⁄2 - 38 inches; weight 1491⁄2
pounds. Hearing and teeth "good", vision 6/6 both eyes.
His permanent and correspondence address was 12 Queen's Avenue,
His actions at Flers on September 15th 1916 led to his being awarded
the Military Cross (London Gazette 14/11/16), and by the end of
the War he had attained the rank of Acting Major. In the King's
Birthday Honours List of June 1919 he was appointed Officer, Most
Excellent Order of The British Empire. The photograph shows Hastie
in his Machine Gun Corps uniform (Heavy Branch, - "Tanks")
but at the time of the Flers action he was still formally serving
with his original regiment, the Highland Light Infantry (the "Glesga
Keelies"). His Scottish roots and regimental attachment are
almost certainly the reason why Hastie came up with such a seemingly
incomprehensible name for "D17", he christened it "Dinnaken".
(All "D" Company Tanks which had been "christened"
had names beginning "D", for example there were Dolphin,
Dolly, Die Hard, Delilah, Daredevil [1&2], and Dracula).
Hastie has taken a bit of a liberty with accepted spellings, but
essentially, dinna(e) means "dont" and ken means to know
or understand, so Dinnaken means - "dont know"