Gunner DENNIS SIMMONS (photo added)

Serviceman Headstone image Serviceman thumbnail gravemarker Serviceman thumbnail
Rank Gunner
Forenames DENNIS
Surname SIMMONS (photo added)
Initials D
Place of Birth Unknown
Date of Birth Unknown
Date of Death Tuesday, 06 June 1944
Age 23
Nationality British
Residence or Entered Service From SOUTH EALING, MIDDLESEX, UNITED KINGDOM
Service Number 1807362
Force British Army
Service/Corps/Regiment Royal Artillery
Unit / Ship / Battalion / Squadron 2 Airlanding Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, Royal Artillery (6th Airborne Division)
Regiment/Unit attached to 53 (Worcestershire Yeomanry) Airlanding Light Regiment (6th Airborne Division)
Military Honours and Awards
Place of Burial/Commemoration TILLY-SUR-SEULLES WAR CEMETERY
Roll of honour
Grave/Memorial Location I. D. 5.
Previous Place(s) of Burial Unknown
Epitaph "OUR DENNIS" A BELOVED HUSBAND AND FATHER. ONE OF THE GALLANT 6TH AIRBORNE.
Family Details SON OF WILLIAM AND QUEENIE SIMMONS; HUSBAND OF KATHLEEN ADA SIMMONS, OF SOUTH EALING, MIDDLESEX.

Additional Information

 

For operations on D-Day, Gunner DENNIS SIMMONS was attached to the 53 (The Worcestershire Yeomanry) Airlanding Light Regiment, Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Anthony 'Tony' D. M. Teacher,1 SIMMONS was part of a Forward Observation Officer (FOO) party for the 3rd Parachute Brigade, 6th Airborne Division.

 

Gunner Dennis Simmons was flying into Normandy by Horsa glider (Chalk Mark No.125) but as the glider approached the French coastline it was hit by anti-aircraft fire and crash landed in the sea. His body was later found on the beach at Franceville-Plage.2

 

Two Horsa glider loads made up the Forward Observation Officer (FOO) party, for 3rd Parachute Brigade:

 

Both gliders took off from Tarrant Rushton 0145 hours, 6th June 1944, as part of the third wave of airborne troops in Operation TONGA. They were towed by Handley Page Halifax Mark V heavy bombers from 298 Squadron, Royal Air Force.

 

The Halifax Mark V, towing Glider Chalk Mark No. 125, was LL348, piloted by Flight Sergeant J. B. MUTTON.3 There planned destination was Drop Zone/Landing Zone N near the village of Ranville, east of the River Orne at 0320 hours.4

 

Glider Chalk No.1255 was piloted by Staff Serjeant GEORGE EDWARD PHILLPOTT and Serjeant ERIC MANLEY TAYLOR.

The glider load was a Jeep and trailer, motorcycle and 7 troops (including the 2 glider pilots):

 

Captain RICHARD STANLEY BELLERBY,

94 (The Dorset and Hampshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment,

 

Lance Bombardier KENNETH SARGENT RODWELL,*

94 (The Dorset and Hampshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment, attached to 53 (The Worcestershire Yeomanry) Airlanding Light Regiment,

 

Gunner ROBERT THOMAS DENNISON,

53 (The Worcestershire Yeomanry) Airlanding Light Regiment,

 

Gunner DENNIS SIMMONS,

2 Airlanding Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, attached to 53 (The Worcestershire Yeomanry) Airlanding Light Regiment

 

Gunner JOHN RUSSELL,

53 (The Worcestershire Yeomanry) Airlanding Light Regiment,

 

Only 2 bodies were recovered, washed up on the shores of Normandy. They were Gunner ROBERT DENNISON (buried in BAYEUX WAR CEMETERY) and Gunner DENNIS SIMMONS (now buried in TILLY-SUR-SEULLES WAR CEMETERY). The bodies of the remaining 5 men were never recovered and their names are now commemorated on BAYEUX MEMORIAL.

 

Further information about the 53 (The Worcestershire Yeomanry) Airlanding Light Regiment can be found in the biography of Lieutenant Colonel A. D. M. Teacher.6

 

Gunner DENNIS SIMMONS with his wife Kathleen and daughter Brenda.7

 

 

Casualty Card for Gunner DENNIS SIMMON.

 

 

As a child DENNIS SIMMONS (left) was a pearly prince.

His family were coster mongers and his grandfather, the Pearly King of Hammersmith,

had a stall at Hammersmith Market.

His Aunt Liz (right) was Pearly Queen of Hammersmith.

 

The 2 photographs above8 were taken in 1922 by renowned photographer Emile Otto Hoppé

The portraits, showing life in London during the first half of the 20th century,

have been displayed in the National Portrait Gallery in London and form part of a larger,

and international acclaimed, portfolio by one of the great photograhers of the 20th century.

 

 

Pearly Prince DENNIS SIMMONS (left) with Lord and Lady Lonsdale,

at one of the coster monger shows.

 

 

Record of Service for Gunner DENNIS SIMMON.9

 

References
* Missing Personnel Report 124b/1/A. dated 16 Nov 44, states S. G. RODWELLs rank as Bdr (Bombardier) and his unit as  94 (The Dorset and Hampshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment, attached to 53 (The Worcestershire Yeomanry) Airlanding Light Regiment, Royal Artillery. Commonwealth War Graves Commission records states his rank as Lance Bombardier and his unit as 53 (The Worcestershire Yeomanry) Airlanding Light Regiment.
2. Colin Winfield, nephew of Gunner Dennis Simmons.
3. National Archives AIR 20 8832 Tarrant Rushton, Fairford, Keevil.
4. Merville Battery & The Dives Bridges, p40. Published by Pen & Sword Book Ltd 1999 - 2011, 4th edition, by Carl Shilleto
5. National Archives AIR 1649 No.298 Squadron Operation Record Book 1944. Also, One Night in June, pp191,197 & 199. Published by Airlife Publishing Ltd 1994, 2000, by Kevin Shannon & Stephen Wright.
6. Bibliography compiled by Mark Hickman and Bob Hilton, via Mark Hickman's Pegasus Archive website.
7. Photograph kindly provided by Colin Winfield, nephew of Gunner Dennis Simmons.
8. Photographs by E. O. Hoppé, 1922. E. O. Hoppé Estate Collection. Photographs kindly provided by Colin Winfield, nephew of Gunner Simmons.
9. Casualty Record and Record of Service kindly provided by Colin Winfield, nephew of Gunner Dennis Simmons.

 

Acknowledgements and Credits
Source of original data: Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Headstone photograph: Carl Shilleto
Cross marker photograph: Colin Winfield, nephew of Gunner Dennis Simmons.
Individual photograph: Colin Winfield, nephew of Gunner Dennis Simmons.
Additional photographs provided by: Colin Winfield, nephew of Gunner Dennis Simmons.
Additional information provided by: Colin Winfield, nephew of Gunner Dennis Simmons, Carl Shilleto, Stephen Wright, Bob Hilton, Mark Hickman.

 

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What other people have said

worthing england

Colin Winfield

Rest In Peace

On Saturday, June 6, 2015
Brampton, Ontario, Canada

Margaret Gaunt

Rest in peace

On Sunday, May 18, 2014
Larkhill

Mark Cain

RIP Once an Airborne Gunner, Always an Airborne Gunner.

On Tuesday, January 7, 2014