Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Guard of Honour for D-Day Hero Dennis

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Guard of Honour for D-Day Hero Dennis

Article excerpt


WAR hero and D-Day veteran Dennis Eeles was laid to rest in a funeral befitting a man who had done so much for his country.

The ex-RAF serviceman, who was life president of the Royal Air Forces Association Club in Redcar, was honoured by the raising of standards and a rendition of the Last Post.

Dennis, a dad-of-two and grandfather of four, died on March 23, aged 91.

uper r He had joined the RAF when he was 18 and was part of the historic D-Day landings.

His daughter, Marguerite Instance, said: "We were bonded at the hip. He was always there to give his advice to family and friends. He was such a special guy.

"We just did everything together." Marguerite, who was 45 when she had daughter Michaela, said Dennis was besotted with his youngest grandchild.

"He had seen the kids grow up. He was so close to Michaela - his main priority was her," she said.

His daughter explained how Dennis would continue to be dedicated to the armed forces for the rest of his life, despite suffering post traumatic stress disorder.

He was born in Stockton and worked for Blackett's foundry before joining a munitions factory in Thornaby at the beginning of the Second World War.

In 1943, Dennis joined the RAF without telling his parents. He was posted to 619 squadron based in Lincolnshire and served as a flight engineer on Lancaster bombers.

He received a letter of thanks from the Dutch people in 1985 for his work on mission Operation Manner, which delivered food to starving men, women and children.

The unit was known as the forgotten squadron because, due to the high loss of air crews and commanding officers, nobody ever designed a crest for it.

Dennis then served in Palestine, and was sitting around the corner from the King David Hotel in Jerusalem when it was blown up on July 22, 1947, killing 91 people.

Marguerite said: "He always felt it was his duty to give something back. He always felt guilty that he survived and others didn't.

"He had such a guilt complex." After leaving his fighting days behind, he met his late wife Dorothy and the couple settled in Redcar with daughters Marguerite and Denise, who has sadly passed away. …

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