Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Honored Allies Wednesday: Dennis Donnini (United Kingdom)

"In North-West Europe on 18th January,1945, a Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers supported by tanks was the leading Battalion in the assault of the German position between the Rivers Roer and Maas.  This consisted of a broad belt of minefields and wire on the other side of a stream.  As the result of a thaw the armor was unable to cross the stream and the infantry had to continue the assault without the sup-port of the tanks.  Fusilier Donnini's platoon was ordered to attack a small village.  As they left their trenches the platoon came under concentrated machine gun and rifle fire from the houses and Fusilier Donnini was hit by a bullet in the head. After a few minutes he recovered consciousness, charged down thirty yards of open road and threw a 'grenade into the nearest window.  The enemy fled through the gardens of four houses, closely pursued by Fusilier Donnini and the survivors of his platoon.  Under heavy fire at seventy yards range Fusilier Donnini and two companions crossed an open space and reached the cover of a wooden barn, thirty yards from the enemy trenches.  Fusilier Donnini, still bleeding profusely from his wound, went into the open under intense close range fire and carried one of his companions, who had been wounded,into the barn. Taking a Bren gun he again went into the open, firing as he went.  He was wounded a second time but recovered and went on firing until a third bullet hit a grenade which he was carrying and killed him.  The superb gallantry and self-sacrifice of Fusilier Donnini drew the enemy fire away from his companions on to himself.  As the result of this, the platoon were able to capture the position, accounting for thirty Germans and two machine guns.  Throughout this action, fought from beginning to end at point blank range, the dash, determination and magnificent courage of Fusilier Donnini enabled his comrades to overcome an enemy more than twice their own number.

From Fusilier Donnini's Victoria Cross citation, awarded on March 20, 1945.
May you be at peace,
 Dennis Donnini Memorial Garden, Crawlaw Road, Easington.

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