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Pte Henry Donkin - No 4 Commando  XML
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John Shephard
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Joined: 11/03/2020 11:03:53
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Bit of a long shot, but can anybody tell me if Pte Henry Donkin who was KIA at Walcheren was nicknamed 'Pop'? If so I remember him as a child when No 4 Commando were billeted here in Dorset in 1942.

The nickname might have been given to him on account of his age and the size of his family.
Bill Harvey
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Dear John

My Dad was also kia in Flushing. I will ask a relation and get back to you.

Best wishes.

Bill

Bill Harvey
Son of Gunner Bill Harvey No4 Commando who was killed in action on 1 November 1944 when liberating Flushing. "Their deeds shall live from age to age. They've writ their name on History's page. Upheld their glorious heritage. The Fighting Fourth Commando."
John Shephard
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Good to hear from you, Bill.

Do let me know if anything transpires - I remember Pop with great fondness although only a young child at the time.

We always felt safe at home when there were commandos with us!

Many thanks
John
Bill Harvey
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Dear John

The relatives have been contacted they do not know if he was called Pops.

"Hi Bill, nobody seems to be aware of the pop nickname but perhaps that could have been something the lads referred to him as. Would be nice to think it might have been him. Would be nice to know what memories he has of No.4 in general".

If you have any memories if you record them I can pass them on.

Best wishes.

Bill

Bill Harvey
Son of Gunner Bill Harvey No4 Commando who was killed in action on 1 November 1944 when liberating Flushing. "Their deeds shall live from age to age. They've writ their name on History's page. Upheld their glorious heritage. The Fighting Fourth Commando."
John Shephard
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Dear Bill

Yes it could well be that Pop was a nickname only used by comrades within the unit; a reflection on being the oldest (well somebody had to be!).

As for memories, I remember the names of two of the other commandos billeted with us along with Pop - Chris Birmingham and Jerry (Grace?). I can also remember they did an exercise with the local Home Guard whereby the latter had to defend the town against penetration by the commandos. The commandos achieved their objective without a blank being fired and waited quite some time until the Home Guard appeared back to find out what was going on. It turned out the commandos had waded up through the river totally undetected - a story line later used by Dad's Army I believe.

Another memory was my mother waiting until they had all left the house for the day, finding the largest thistle in the garden and stuffing it into the bed of one of the four; I cannot remember which. I felt rather disloyal at being a party to a trick on one of my commando friends and the moment they got back in the evening I took one of them aside and spilt the beans. The outcome was that I then became his accomplice in transferring the thistle to my parents' bed. Happy days despite all!

My eldest son is very interested in all of this and has read extensively about the commandos in WW2, so it is good to think their service and sacrifice is remembered by another generation.

John
Bill Harvey
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Thanks John passed that on.

It will go to the family.

Sending you a PM.

Best wishes.

Bill

Bill Harvey
Son of Gunner Bill Harvey No4 Commando who was killed in action on 1 November 1944 when liberating Flushing. "Their deeds shall live from age to age. They've writ their name on History's page. Upheld their glorious heritage. The Fighting Fourth Commando."
Bill Harvey
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From family John

Just a thought for John. If Henry was "Pop" he'd have had a North East accent as he was from Sunderland, hadn't been living on Yorkshire too long before going off to war so probably wouldn't have lost the accent.

Bill

Bill Harvey
Son of Gunner Bill Harvey No4 Commando who was killed in action on 1 November 1944 when liberating Flushing. "Their deeds shall live from age to age. They've writ their name on History's page. Upheld their glorious heritage. The Fighting Fourth Commando."
OldDonkin
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Joined: 08/04/2024 00:51:29
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I came across this post while researching Henry Donkin.

According to The Fighting Fourth by James Dunning he was known as Old Donkin.
Pete
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Yes that is what we have but for sure others may have called him Pops as has been said

https://www.commandoveterans.org/HenryDonkin4Commando

Pete Rogers, son of LSgt Joe Rogers MM & nephew of TSM Ken McAllister. Both No2 Commando.
God and the Soldier, all men adore, In time of danger and not before.
When the danger is passed and all things righted, God is forgotten, and the Soldier slighted.


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Pete
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Just as a point of interest the oldest No.4 Commando to die in the war was Private John Stoddart aged 41.

https://www.commandoveterans.org/JohnStoddart4Commando

Pete Rogers, son of LSgt Joe Rogers MM & nephew of TSM Ken McAllister. Both No2 Commando.
God and the Soldier, all men adore, In time of danger and not before.
When the danger is passed and all things righted, God is forgotten, and the Soldier slighted.


**** nb. I no longer monitor the pm facility ****
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