Family pays tribute to Second World War soldier Dennis Donnini on the 75th anniversary of his death

The family of a local hero who was killed in the Second World War has paid tribute and shared memories as the community marked 75 years since his death.

Saturday, 18th January 2020, 2:31 pm
Updated Saturday, 18th January 2020, 4:03 pm

The death of Fusilier Dennis Donnini VC was marked with a get together at his memorial garden on Crawlaw Road, Easington Colliery, on Saturday, January 18, where his family members joined many others to remember him.

He was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross and, at 19, was the youngest soldier in the Second World War to receive it.

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Marking the 75th Anniversary of Fusilier Dennis Donnini, his family members joined many others to remember him.

His eldest niece Ines Turner, 86, remembers being told about the honour.

She said: “When he was awarded the VC, I was actually at school in Wolsingham and I was sent for by the head nun.

“She told me but quite honestly I was only 10 or 11 and I didn’t quite understand.

“I came home and my mother put me in the picture and told me exactly why he’d been given this award. We’re so proud.

His eldest niece, Ines Turner, 86, recalls hearing about Dennis Donnini shortly after his death.

“This day means a lot to me because he was my mother’s youngest brother and she thought the world of him.

“He was a holy terror. When he was little, he was always up to something but he was a very lovable person.”

Anthony Putsman, 67, one of Dennis’s nephews said: “Although my mother often talked about Dennis we never really knew an awful lot.

“As a family now, we meet up regularly to talk about the future and we’re always learning an awful lot about his story and the amount of interest in him.

An event took place marking the 75th anniversary of Fusilier Dennis Donnini at the memorial, Easington Colliery.

“In the last ten years, there has been a growing interest in Dennis.”

In Easington, his family keep his memory alive. A portrait of him hangs in a fish and chip shop that stands on the site of his parents’ business and his memorial remains a meeting point.