Obituary: Dennis Woollons, war veteran and fund raiser

Dennis Woollons, who has died at 95, was a former Army Staff Sergeant who appeared recently on stage at the Royal British Legion’s Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall.

Dennis Woollons

Dennis Woollons, who has died at 95, was a former Army Staff Sergeant who appeared recently on stage at the Royal British Legion’s Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall.

He was president of the of the Willerby, Kirk Ella and Anlaby Branch of the Legion in Hull and during his 25 years with the organisation he raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for the Poppy Appeal in East Yorkshire.

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During the Covid pandemic, he became involved with the Legion’s “telephone buddy” scheme and was in regular contact with two D-Day veterans in the county

“We talk about our service, of course, but also football, rugby league, the weather and we put the world to rights,” he said. “We all get something out of it. They enjoy talking to somebody from their own era with similar experiences to them.”

Dennis had an exemplary military career, having been seconded to the Indian Army in 1945 based at Burma Command HQ, where he was heavily involved in Operation Nip-Off, the repatriation of Japanese surrendered personnel from Rangoon.

He signed the Official Secrets Act, making him probably the only noncommissioned officer in the Far East allowed to handle a top-secret guard file. After two years he contracted hepatitis and was sent home on a hospital ship in November 1947, before returning to his career in accountancy.

His wife, Audrey, died two years ago.