Dennis Donnini

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Dennis Donnini
Born 17 November 1925
Easington, County Durham
Died 18 January 1945
Stein, Germany
Buried at Sittard War Cemetery, Netherlands
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1944 - 1945
Rank Fusilier
Unit Royal Scots Fusiliers
Battles/wars World War II 
Awards Victoria Cross

Dennis Donnini VC (17 November 1925 – 18 January 1945) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Early life[edit]

Dennis Donnini was born to Italian-born Alfred Donnini and his English wife Catherine (née Brown), on 17 November 1925 in Easington. His father owned an ice cream parlour in Easington and attended Corby Grammar School in Sunderland, now known as St. Aidans School.


Donnini was 19 years old, and a fusilier in the 4th/5th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers, British Army during the Second World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

On 18 January 1945 during Operation Blackcock, Fusilier Donnini's platoon was ordered to attack the small village of Stein in Selfkant Germany, close to the Dutch border. On leaving their trench they immediately came under heavy fire from a house and the fusilier was hit in the head. After recovering consciousness he charged 30 yards down the open road and hurled a grenade through the nearest window, whereupon the enemy fled pursued by Fusilier Donnini and the survivors of his platoon. He was wounded a second time, but continued firing his Bren gun until he was killed after the grenade he was carrying was hit by a bullet and exploded. His gallantry had enabled his comrades to overcome twice their own number of the enemy.[1]

Donnini at 19 was the youngest soldier in the Second World War to be awarded the VC.[2]

He is buried at the Commonwealth Cemetery in Sittard, The Netherlands.[3]


  1. ^ "No. 36988". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 March 1945. p. 1485. 
  2. ^ MOD website
  3. ^ CWGC entry

External links[edit]