Cadets from 1861 (Wantage) Sqn have attended a memorial service for Pilot Officer Dennis Holland from Chaddlesworth, a World War Two pilot with 72 Squadron who was killed in the Battle of Britain.
Pilot Officer Dennis ‘Dutch’ Holland began his flying career as a civil pilot and when war broke out in 1939 he had logged over 3,000 flying hours. During the Battle of Britain his Spitfire aircraft was hit by enemy fire whilst in combat in the skies above Canterbury, though badly wounded he was able to bale out, unfortunately he died of his injuries on the 20th of September 1940. His family brought him back to Chaddlesworth to be laid to rest at St Andrew’s Church, he was 23 years old.
71 years later and a memorial service was held at St Andrew’s Church where a bench within the churchyard was dedicated to Pilot Officer Holland in remembrance of him and his sacrifice. Following the service a Spitfire and Hurricane aircraft from the Royal Air Force’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight carried out a flypast over the church.
Flight Lieutenant Nigel Furlong, squadron commander of 1861 Sqn and also a former member of 72 Squadron in the 1980’s commented ‘ Today it was a privilege for me and my cadets to support the memorial service of Pilot Officer Holland, for us to look back in history to those of the RAF who defended the England during the Battle of Britain and who paid the ultimate sacrifice and to pay our respects to them through this memorial service.’