Obituary to Wing Commander Dennis



Obituary to Wing Commander Dennis


Two typewritten pages, one is an obituary for Group Captain DF Dennis DSO, DFC and bar, AFC, RAF (Retd), the other are the extracts from the London Gazette reporting the award of his DFC, DSO and Bar to DFC.





Two typewritten sheets


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MDentonDH1256316-200114-020001, MDentonDH1256316-200114-020002


behind the sad announcement of the death of Group Captain Dennis there is a life of sservice [sic] and dedication to the Royal Air Force which should not go unrecorded, because his contribution ia [sic] at the heart of the traditions of our great service.
Born in 1915 Group Captain Dennis joined the RAFVR in 1937 and in 1938 started flying training at Hamble on Avro Cadet aircraft. After a number of training courses, on Hind, hart, Audas and Anson, at the outbreak of war, he joined no 21 (B) Squadron in 1940 flying Blenheims and his first operational sortie was attacking targets in the Amsterdam area in January 1941. There then followed night operations to Cologne, hanover [sic] and Wilhelmahaer, writing book comments ‘Caught in many searchlights, heavy flak – 3 runs at 1200 ft, gunned aerodrome, turret hit’. April saw a switch to successful anti shipping strikes and in May 1941 on a detachment to Malta – 14 hours each way via Gibraltar – successful anti shipping strikes were exectued [sic] hitting one destroyer and sinking two 5000 ton freighters. After 30 operational flights, a ‘rest tour’ at the Blenheim OCU at Bicester proved almost as hairy as the operational flying and having trained a considerable number of pilots to fly Blenhiems [sic] he returned in July 1942 to 21 (B) Squadron for a second tour, this time on Lockheed Ventura I’s. By September 1943 having completed 34 operational sorties, he returned to the Bicester OCU as Cheif [sic] Instructor this time on B25 Mitchells.
The build up to D-Day was in progress when the then Squadron Leader Dennis rejoined 21 (B) Squadron on Mosquito’s, as Flight Commander after 3 days coversion [sic] was on the first night operational sortie of his third tour. In two months he carried out over 30 operational sorties, day, low levl, [sic] and night interdiction, and became the CO of the Squadron. On the night of the 29th july [sic] 1944 having carried out an interdiction sortie in Southern Germany, with his navigator Flying Officer Grantham, his Mosquito, was hit by flak which put one engine out of action, the propeller would not feather and only by maintaining full power on the other engine could he sustain flight, albeit in a slight descent. Arriving in darkness at the recently recaptured area around Caen in northen [sic] France he found an emergency landing strip put the aircraft down without injury to himself or the navigator but the aircraft was a write off. the [sic] next night he was back at Thorney Island carrying out night flying training and at that time it was not unusual to carry out two X 2 hour 30 min operational sorties in one night. In October 1944 he handed over 21 (B) Sqn and joined 2 Group for a ‘Staff Job’ having completed 3 operational tours with a total of 105 operational sorties. So ended his war – he had been the proud reciepient [sic] of the Distinguished Service order and two Distinguished Flying Crosses, the citations for which are given below.
Having completed a Flying Instructors course and the Day Fighter Leaders Course he became the CO of the No 111 Squadron flying Spitfires in the Middle East and was CO of RAF Udine in Northern Italy in 1947. After staff appointments at Group and Air Ministery [sic] level he became Station Commander and Wing Leader at RAF Honily – those were the days of Vampire wings and he flew on just about every flyable day. After completing No 8 RAF Flying College Course at Manby, Wing Commander Dennis joined A & AFE Boscombe Down in 1957 flying mainly Swift, hunter, Javelin and Gnat aircraft, and it was whilst carrying out spinning trails [sic] that failure to recover from a spin resulted in a Martin baker let down from less than 4000 ft. In recognition of his sterling work at Boscombe Down he was awarded the Air Force Cross.
As a Group Captain he served at 13 Gp HQ, was Station Commander at RAF Basingbourne and was Air Task Force Commander bruei. [sic] His son John became a RAF pilot but was tragically killed in a Canberra flying accident in 1973.
Group Captain Dennis’s life was a life of service to the Royal Air Force and his country – he will be sadly missed and well remembered for his determination, kindness, compassion and ‘the human touch’.
[page break]
[underlined] EXTRACT FROM LONDON GAZETTE DATED 10th June 1941 [/underlined]
The King has graciously pleased to approve the following awards in recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations:
[underlined] Distinguished Flying Cross [/underlined]
[underlined] Pilot Officer David Foster Dennis (64274) Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve [/underlined]
[underlined] No 21 Squadron [/underlined]
This officer has displayed great skill and daring in attacks against enemy merchant ships and escorting vessels. In May 1941, he attacked a merchant vessel of about 5000 tons, obtaining hits which caused the ship to founder. The next day he attacked and secured hits on an enemy destroyer ship. A few days later he executed an attack against a merchant ship in convoy and as a result of his bombing, the ship took a list to starboard emitting much black smoke. On these occasions, Pilot Officer Dennis showed the greatest determination.
[underlined] EXTRACT FROM LONDON GAZETTE DATED 18th MAY 1943 [/underlined]
The king has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards in recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations:
[underlined] Distinguished Service Order [/underlined]
[underlined] Acting Flight Lieutenant David Foster Dennis, DFC (64274) Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve No 21 Squadron [/underlined]
This officer has participated in 53 Sorties invariably displaying exceptional skill and determination. One afternoon in April 1943, he flew the heading aircraft of a bomber formation detailed to attack railway installations at Abbeville. During the operation much fighter opposition was encountered and his formation was subjected to simultaneous attack from the rear and ahead. In the engagement, Flight Lieutenant Dennis displayed inspiring leadership, proving a tower of strength. By his personal example and sterling qualities, this officer has contributed materially to the high standard of morale and efficiency of the squadron.
[underlined] EXTRACT FROM LONDON GAZETTE DATED 27th OCTOBER 1944 [/underlined]
The King has graciously pleased to approve the following awards in recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations:
[underlined] Bar to Distinguished Flying Cross [/underlined]
[underlined] Acting Wing Commander David Foster Dennis, DSO DFC (64274) RAFVR 21 Sqn [/underlined]
Wing Commander Dennis has commanded his squadron with marked success. One night in August, he was detailed for a particulary [sic] hazardous attack on a transporter bridge across the Seine. the [sic] enemy defences in the area were extremly [sic] heavy. Disregarding the opposition he led his aircraft in to the attack scoring hits with his bombs. Wing Commander Dennis has completed very many sorties including numerous night attacks. His leadership initiative and courage have been of high order



“Obituary to Wing Commander Dennis,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed December 5, 2023,

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