Village shows its pride in youngest-ever Victoria Cross winner

The mural dedicated to Dennis Donnini, the youngest man to be awarded the Victoria Cross.
The mural dedicated to Dennis Donnini, the youngest man to be awarded the Victoria Cross.

A village’s pride for its war hero is on show for all to see with the unveiling of a huge mural dedicated to the soldier.

Dennis Donnini won the Victoria Cross (VC) posthumously in recognition of the part he played in the Second World War during an attack on a village in Germany.

Dennis Donnini was just 19 when he died. He is the youngest-ever VC winner.

Dennis Donnini was just 19 when he died. He is the youngest-ever VC winner.

Despite being wounded after he and other servicemen came under fire, he fought back, with his actions helping his troop overcome the enemy.

His actions led him to become the youngest to be awarded the VC.

Yesterday, an artwork depicting the 19-year-old Royal Scots Fusilier was officially put on show in the garden already dedicated to his memory in Easington.

The display in Crawlaw Road, which also shows an image of his gravestone in the nearby cemetery and poppies, was commissioned by Easington Colliery Heritage Group with the backing of the GMB union and painted by Michael Wilson, who lives in Peterlee.

People love it and their response has been amazing.

Susan Greig

Chairman Susan Greig said: “We talked about how we would like to do a mural and we knew of this graffiti artist and it is modern and stunning.

“The park is quite a small garden. There are plaques already up, so we said we would like to do something more, as we’ve put one up and donated a memorial rose, but this is dramatic and more significant.

“The reaction to it has been so positive and we have had some good comments left on Facebook about it from the community.

“People love it and their response has been amazing.”

Buglers and pipers played at the unveiling.

In May, Easington Regeneration Partnership recognised his bravery by naming the new park in his home village after him.

It was created with the help of experts at Durham University who worked alongside the authorities to clear up the Pygals site.

A day of heritage celebrations will be held at the Welfare Park today, with more details available via the group’s Facebook page.