Memorial: Staple Hill Methodist Church
Regiment: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Medals: 1939–45 Star, Defence Medal, War Medal 1939–1945
Rank and number: Leading Aircraftman (Service Number 956838)
Parents: Albert Thornton and Sarah (Nee Belsten) Wood
Marital status: Married
Home address: 1 Wingfield Street, Bungay, Suffolk
Pre-war occupation: School Master
Date of birth: 13/07/1915
Place of birth: Staple Hill, Bristol
Date of death: 26/06/1944
Buried/Commemorated at: Bungay Cemetery, Bungay, Suffolk
Dennis served with the 24th Air Sea Rescue Unit (The Commonwealth War Graves register states this his unit as the 24 Air Sea Rescue Squadron). The unit operated on high speed launches whose task was to rescue airman who had crashed or bailed out over the sea. The unit operated out of Lowestoft.
Various reports state that Dennis lost his life serving on High Speed Launch (HSL) 2551 on the 29th June 1944, along with Flight Lieutenant G F Lindsay, Corporal J G Stewart and Leading Aircraftman P G Sykes. Also lost from this launch were two American Air Force men, survivors of Flying Fortress 297830 of 390th Bomb Group. They were Sergeant 346234243 D S Downie Junior and Second Lieutenant J S Mayall Junior.
HSL 2551 was attacked and sunk by enemy aircraft 15 miles off the coast of Occupied Europe on June 29th, 1944 while picking up the crew of B-17 42-97830. The survivors, including three USAAF aircrew wounded in the attack, were picked up by another HSL operating from Great Yarmouth.
Dennis’s parents married in 1907, and on the 1911 Census lived in Pendennis Road, Staple Hill with their eldest son Albert (born 1908). Albert Senior died in 1923.
On the 1939 Register, Dennis was living at 1 Wingfield Street, Bungay, probably as a lodger as there were unrelated people living in the house. This address was also recorded on the 1944 probate records. Dennis married Eva Adelinda Marshall - 1st quarter 1941, Wainford District, Essex. In 1939, Eva was living with her parents in Bungay and married again after the war.
By kind permission, this information is based on the following source(s):
Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Findmypast, Volunteer Researcher John Davis.