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Farewell Danny42C

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Farewell Danny42C

Old 22nd Nov 2018, 09:03
  #121 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Islamabad
Posts: 2
My sincere condolences to the family.
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Old 23rd Nov 2018, 17:25
  #122 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Co. Down
Age: 78
Posts: 521
A last letter to our dear friend Danny

Hello again Dennis, my dear old friend,

Can it really be six years since you first cast your spell on us Ppruners? Already enthralled by the long-running Brevet thread for World War II aircrew, we logged in every day to read your latest instalment. In your time foreign travel was undreamed of for most people, let alone flying, yet your 18-year-old self, yearning to fly a Spitfire, joined the RAF and was sent off to learn to fly in Florida.

Through your writings, a rich mix of humour, knowledge, and vivid memories of times long gone, we followed your shaky steps into the air and your sense of wonder at this strange land where everything was plentiful. We shared your delight when you returned to England and your dream came true with training on Spitfires and posting to a new Spitfire Wing in India.

Four years later I would follow in your footsteps when as a child my mother took me to rejoin my father in RAF Poona. Long before Bombay came into view we too picked up the exotic smells, from spices to sewers as you described them. From the deck of HMT Strathnaver we too goggled at the Victorians' vast Gateway to India, wondered at the teeming humanity, picked our way through the seething platforms of Victoria Station to our reserved carriage. At Poona, the aviation bug infected me for life the instant my father lowered me into the cockpit of a Vengeance, perhaps one that you had flown.

That was when our electronic friendship began with your first greeting Namaste, chota-sahib! An address I had not heard for 70 years, and the once-familiar terms of the Raj that my father used until he died 22 years ago: memsahib, chai, jeldi-jeldi, dhobi, tiffin, charpoy. We shared memories of basha and bearer, of cobra and Kipling, of monkeys and monsoons. We even enjoyed a few phone calls despite your deafness, which had started with many hours behind a thundering Wright Cyclone.

Back on PPRuNe you kept us spellbound with your rail journey across India and our hearts sank with yours when you eventually reached Madhaiganj and spotted a line of big ugly things on the apron.
What on earth is THAT? — That's a Vultee Vengeance, Sarge, they're dive bombers! We knew nothing about dive bombers and clung to our last faint hope.

What about the Spitfires we're supposed to be getting? — You've had it, Sarge, there aren't any out here!

Oh, Noooo …. Oh, Yesss! Not for the first or last time in the RAF, we'd been sold a pup.
Soon a thousand PPruners per day were following your love-hate relationship with the Vengeance and your description of its two-mile vertical dive had us on the edge of our seats; in between came your witty and colourful mix of reflections on India and the life of its European exiles. Then a Japanese bullet severed an oil line and you were badly injured in the ensuing forced landing, thankfully to recover and to command a special Flight carrying out gas spray trials until the war ended.

In your 90th year, you wrote all your stories on an elderly laptop with touchpad, a laptop which became increasingly unreliable as the years went by — just like ourselves, we laughed. So we decided to produce your story as an e-book and all through last winter we exchanged drafts and yet more memories, leading to In with a Vengeance in April this year.

This first book was so well received that my wife and I began work on your second volume, Danny and the Cold War, for which with great effort you transcribed the first 22,000 words. Once again we hung on every word as you rejoined the RAF, converted from Spitfires to jets, only to be grounded by your lung problem in 1954. Then you regaled us with life as an air traffic controller on airfields around England and even to Berlin during the Cold War. All the while you watched the RAF and its personnel change from a wartime to a peacetime and different Service.

But despite the loving care of your devoted daughter Mary, your responses became slower and I detected a faint note of resignation. We're pals for life, you told me, and said you would like the book produced even though you might never see it, and I promised I would see it to completion.

It was a poignant moment when we read of your loving care for your little daughter in her playpen, and we thought how your lives had turned full circle as little daughter Mary was now caring for her dear Dad. As your bad days increased, we worked flat-out to finish your book at the end of last month, and we are so glad we did as you were alert to the end and able to see the first proof copy. Thank you, thank you, thank you, you wrote, and it gladdened our hearts to know you were pleased.

But at 4am on November 12, Mary told me, you became restless, you asked for your laptop, and you called on your last reserves for a brief mail which brought tears to my eyes:
Well, Doc says my life scan is a week or a fortnight: it had to come sooner or later, I suppose, but I had hoped for a bit more ... Now, I would wish you to offer the book on PPRuNe as we agreed ... My favourite charities would be the RAF Memorial Fund and Marie Curie ...
Heart too full now,must break off now.
A few hours later, you 'slipped the surly bonds of earth and soared the skies' for the last time, leaving a void that can never be filled. But now, far beyond the sparkling clouds with their towering castles and sunlit canyons, you have joined your beautiful Iris once again. May you have eternal happiness together.

Ever your pal,

Last edited by Geriaviator; 1st Oct 2019 at 20:11. Reason: sp
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Old 23rd Nov 2018, 18:08
  #123 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 62
Originally Posted by Geriaviator View Post
Hello again Dennis, my dear old friend,
It's wonderful that you were able to get the first proof to Danny in time.

Danny will be missed. RIP.
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Old 23rd Nov 2018, 23:00
  #124 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Hanging off the end of a thread
Posts: 16,188
Geriaviator, thank you ever so much for that thoughtful and moving obituary, you have done Danny proud and have kept his memory alive, I am ever so glad his story has been told and his memories live on, I feel that it was important both historically, but also for future generations so that they would be able to learn from it, i never realised you have done some Ebooks with Danny, where can one access them?

I too was saddened at his loss as was everyone else on here, one felt like one had lost a close friend.

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Old 24th Nov 2018, 00:22
  #125 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: CYYC (Calgary)
Posts: 5,102

That is the most moving post I have ever read on PPRuNe. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

Like Nut Loose, I would also like to obtain a copy of the books, with appropriate donation.

I probably met Dennis when he was at Shawbury and I was a newly minted UBAS Cadet.

India Four Two is online now  
Old 24th Nov 2018, 07:02
  #126 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 60
Geriaviator - "A last letter to our dear friend Danny" . . .. . . The perfect tribute. I dips me lid.

August last , Danny responded thus to some RAAF Vengeance material I sent him by snail mail, -

"It is a very detailed pic of a standard VV bomb-load: noted the two (500 lb) are fitted with "trunnion bands", the trunnions can be seen sticking out, ready to engage the bomb bay "forks", which threw them clear of the prop disc on release. The two 250 lbs went on the wing racks.

"Dive attacks on shipping at night ? Don't be silly !

"Will comment further when I have a chance to study them, things a bit hectic here, seems I have diastolic heart failure. Do not know what Cardiologist can do about it, save probably: "Give the old bugger some more pills and let him die in peace !" Might not be with you for long."

As a certain Chilean reporter put it, broadcasting from his over-flying aircraft as Chichester went through the Straits of Magelllan -

" Qué hombre! " (For Danny, ditto - doubly.)
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Old 24th Nov 2018, 07:55
  #127 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: East Anglia
Posts: 689
Geriaviator. Thank you. FZ
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Old 24th Nov 2018, 13:55
  #128 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Co. Down
Age: 78
Posts: 521
#NutLoose and India Four Two --
If you PM your email addys to me I can send you Danny's first e-book, In with a Vengeance. Nutloose, your address does not accept PMs, just in case you did not know this.
Please note I cannot send the book unless you supply an email address to send it to!
We're still checking and finishing the second book, Danny and the Cold War, and we shall announce it on the Brevet thread within the next few days. No requests before then, please, we don't work as fast as we once did.

Last edited by Geriaviator; 25th Nov 2018 at 12:24. Reason: q
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Old 24th Nov 2018, 23:38
  #129 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Under Capricorn
Posts: 72
Well said.
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Old 25th Nov 2018, 09:52
  #130 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2010
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Posts: 1,001

Michael, Thank you, a wonderful tribute to our dear departed friend.
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Old 25th Nov 2018, 11:43
  #131 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: West Sussex
Age: 78
Posts: 4,196

A truly moving post. That you and your wife should have striven so hard and so successfully to achieve Danny's wish before he died is a wonderful thing. We could not wish for more assiduous and attentive personal ambassadors representing us to our dear friend and Chief Pilot. Well done both of you, and I too would like to obtain the fruits of your labour if possible.

This thread is unique, the only sticky PPRuNe tribute thread to my knowledge. It is a measure of the esteem in which Danny is and will be forever held by all here on PPRuNe.
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Old 25th Nov 2018, 13:31
  #132 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Often in Jersey, but mainly in the past.
Age: 75
Posts: 5,270
I hope Dennis has a decent internet connection up there, above the clouds, so that he can read the amazing tributes being paid here.

I can add nothing to what has been said before, apart from adding my thanks to Geriaviator for his words above and for his efforts in consolidating Dennis’ writings.

Last edited by MPN11; 26th Nov 2018 at 11:49. Reason: iPad typing!
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Old 26th Nov 2018, 02:34
  #133 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: over the rainbow
Age: 71
Posts: 562

RAF Commands website.

Danny made mention of this incident in his post here.

Wg Cdr Arthur Gill, OBE, DFC

Last edited by roving; 26th Nov 2018 at 03:01. Reason: adding detail
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Old 26th Nov 2018, 07:50
  #134 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 60
This thread is unique, the only sticky PPRuNe tribute thread to my knowledge. It is a measure of the esteem in which Danny is and will be forever held by all here on PPRuNe.
Of that there can be no doubt at all. When we pause to reflect upon the attributes, the qualities , of men and women we have had the good fortune to have known, whether in a cursory way or well, we usually form a picture in our minds' eye of
that person's essence, for want of a better word. True empathy is not qualified but is instilled from birth (or before). Those who have been born of empathetic parents will themselves endow their own children. And so on and so on. Dennis O'Leary certainly showed his kindly, empathetic nature often, with modesty, humility and humour. He sought no fanfares. Were one to inscribe two words only upon a hypothetical head-stone, it would be hard to come up with anything more true or succinct than 'HE CARED'.

Last edited by Fantome; 26th Nov 2018 at 20:12.
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Old 26th Nov 2018, 15:49
  #135 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2006
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Originally Posted by Geriaviator View Post
Hello again Dennis, my dear old friend,
Ever your pal,
Thank you so much for putting into words what we were all thinking.
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Old 27th Nov 2018, 09:21
  #136 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: East Anglia
Posts: 689
Geriaviator Many thanks for the book … donation sent DCO
As it is that time of year, a glass of port and a comfortable chair call … now where are my glasses?!
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Old 27th Nov 2018, 10:55
  #137 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2017
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Age: 72
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Geriaviator that was a most poinant and moving tribute to Danny, thank you.
It was Danny's musings and most informative recollections that brought me to this thread. He generously accepted me on board when I joined this wonderful forum.
It took me 2 months to read all his experiences and all the associated replies, comments.
As someone said " where do we get these men?"

Blue skies and RIP Dennis.
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Old 27th Nov 2018, 21:51
  #138 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Horsham, England, UK. ---o--O--o---
Posts: 1,048

So sorry that you have finally departed to the heavens on your final sortie!
I loved reading of your exploits with such precise prose and punctuation.

I will miss your contributions!

RIP Sir.
Out Of Trim is online now  
Old 28th Nov 2018, 12:02
  #139 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Co. Down
Age: 78
Posts: 521
The last word from Danny ...

Dennis's daughter Mary says she has been very touched by this PPRuNe memorial and thanks everyone for the many tributes contained herein.

On this, the day of his funeral in Nunthorpe, Middlesbrough, we are pleased to announce his new e-book Danny and the Cold War, which we hope will form a lasting tribute to his Service and his long and happy life. My thanks again to the Mods, and hope they won’t mind this double post: to obtain a copy, please refer to the long-running ‘RAF Brevet’ thread on which he gave us such pleasure over the past six years.
Gaining An R.A.F Pilots Brevet In WW II

Last edited by Geriaviator; 29th Nov 2018 at 17:10. Reason: broken link
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Old 28th Nov 2018, 12:15
  #140 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: West Sussex
Age: 78
Posts: 4,196
Thank you for the update Geriaviator. Along with many other PPRuNers around the world I'm sure I now stand in silent homage to our departed and much loved Chief Pilot, Dennis O'Leary, aka Danny 42C. A cyber crew-room at attention.

Rest in Peace, dear friend.

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