Desperately Seeking Dennis
Gulf War serviceman searches for relatives of WW2 dead
A Gulf War veteran is trying to make contact with the relatives of a Shepherd's Bush man who fought and died in the Second World War.
David Eason is compiling a Roll of Honour for the 11th Hussars (Prince Albert's Own) in memory of those from the regiment who were killed in action. He is trying to trace relatives and descendants for information which will be included in their entries.
At least one of those killed came from the local area: Trooper Dennis James Robinson was born in 1925 and lived in Shepherd's Bush with his parents James William and Ethel Margaret (née Hobbs) Robinson. He and sixteen others were killed in northern France when the squadron was struck by a German bomber on 18th July 1944. Robinson was just 19 years old. He is buried at Banneville-La-Campagne War Cemetery in France.
“Unfortunately and tragically the 11th Hussars' (P.A.O) Roll of Honour 1939-1945 was never written. Sixty years later, I am attempting to put this injustice right,” said Eason.
“After two years, I have managed to contact 80% of relatives and descendants, and have located war memorials and church commemorations to the 162 young men who, through their sacrifices, played such an enormous part in defeating the enemy, which has never really been appreciated,” he said.
Eason says he will not publish the Roll of Honour until he has done everything possible to trace all of the relatives and descendants of those killed. He says he keeps the final paragraph of each entry free for the families so that they can write their own dedications.
“I received a phone call from one of the lads' younger sisters last weekend, who I put an article in a local paper looking for. The poor woman (82) was in tears, thinking that her brother's memory was at last going to be given the respect he deserved for the first time.
“A lot of relatives alive now, never mind descendants who mostly weren't alive at the time these lads died, never knew much about them, their service, how they died, even in some cases where they are buried, and then to be given the chance to say their final 'goodbyes' (what they would have wanted to say if they had known then that they weren't coming back) is, I believe, justice,” said Eason.
The 11th Hussars (P.A.O) have a long and distinguished history. They led the Charge of the Light Brigade in 1854, became the first British regiment to become mechanised in 1928, and became involved in suppressing the Arab revolt in Mandate Palestine in 1936. During the Second World War, they led the Desert Rats throughout the North Africa Campaign and served throughout the Western European Campaign.
Eason himself served with the Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales's Own) - the successtor to the 11th Hussars - from 1980-1993, including during the first Gulf War in 1991.
He says he is also looking for information on the following Second World War servicemen who also came from west London, but not necessarily from Shepherd's Bush:
Trooper, Alfred BARR, 14641679 (05/04/1945)
If you have any relevant information, please contact:
17 February 2009