Second World War hero Dennis Donnini remembered 75 years on at memorial garden

A memorial was held to remember a Second World War serviceman, 75 years on from his death in the conflict.

Saturday, 18th January 2020, 2:00 pm
Updated Sunday, 19th January 2020, 3:20 pm

Shortly after 11.30am on Saturday, January 18, a commemoration was held for the 75th anniversary of the death of Fusilier Dennis Donnini VC, at his memorial garden on Crawlaw Road in Easington Colliery.

Dennis Donnini VC was born on November, 17 in 1925 in Easington Colliery, where his dad owned an ice cream parlour. He attended Corby Grammar School, now known as St Aidan’s School, in Sunderland.

He lost his life on January 18, 1945.

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Emotions were high at the memorial for Fusilier Dennis Donnini.
Emotions were high at the memorial for Fusilier Dennis Donnini.

He was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, which was marked by the Easington Colliery Heritage Group at the memorial.

Awarded the honour posthumously at 19, Dennis was the youngest soldier in the Second World War to receive the VC.

At the memorial on Saturday, members of his family and others who wanted to pay their respects joined together as Easington Colliery Brass Band played.

County Councillor David Boyes, Grahame Morris MP, members of the Fusiliers Regiment and officers of the Royal British Legion were some of many who attended the event.

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

Brian Jolly, of Easington Colliery Heritage Group, organised the commemoration.

He said: “We’ve had a good turn out of Easington Colliery. The British Legion has a huge presence here.

“The Royal Regiment of Scotland is the present day reincarnation of Dennis’s Royal Scots Fusiliers and it’s great to have everyone here.

“For a small colliery village like this, we need to remember our past. Obviously, it was built around the pit and to have a hero like this, we need to remember him.

Many gathered to hear speeches at the memorial.

“We don’t want to let that fade away. It’s a big one this year being 75 years since he was killed so it’s worthy of a big commemoration.”

Flags were raised and wreaths were laid by the memorial painting of Dennis. while members of the Fusiliers Regiment and British Legion showed their pride in uniform.

The brass band continued to play as guests headed to The Leather Cap Sports and Social Club for a buffet and exhibition to share memories.

The club is the current base of Easington District Royal British Legion.

Crowds joined to pay their respects to Mr Donnini.