Dennis Young

In Memory of Dennis Young...

Dennis was born on 4 October 1922. His parents were Pauline (nee Ient) and Charles Young. Dennis died on 23 November 2016 at about 10pm at Dr Grays Hospital, Elgin, Morayshire, Scotland.

The Funeral was held at Inverness Crematorium, Kilvean Rd, Inverness, IV3 8JN, on Monday 5 December 2016 at 2pm.

Eulogy by his daughter, Karen Hamilton

Dennis Young on the steps of his grandmother's home in Warsill Battersea London

Dad was born in Aldershot in 1922 into a military family. His father Charles was a Band Sergeant with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Charles toured the world with the band until arriving in Bermuda in 1926, where he was demobbed and the family settled. They ran a local inn in these days and Dad told me about taking the pony and trap on his own, aged not more than 7 years old, across the island to collect supplies, crates of beer etc. from the wholesalers. At the age of 14, Dad was sent to England for senior schooling where he lived with his Uncle Phil and Aunt Cath. He always talked so fondly about them; they became his second family as his parents separated not long after he left Bermuda. Dad was a clever student excelling in sciences and mathematics. His flair for numbers never waned and his mental arithmetic skills were amazing right up to the end of his life. In 1938, with war imminent, his mother sent for him to return to Bermuda, which sadly cut any further education short. However, aged 16 he travelled by boat alone back to Bermuda. This was a right of passage in so many ways, and he said he did a lot of ‘growing up’ on this journey. Still, the child in him was still evident as he recalled with joy stopping en route at La Rochelle and riding a funfair for 10 centimes a ride. Dodgems were his favourite mmm...

Back in Bermuda, he lived the high life, as a number of wealthy families had sent their daughters there to be safe: one girl called Francesca de Havilland, of the aircraft family, and Isobel Robertson of the jam fame! Whether the girls were safe or not was a moot point - he always had a glint in his eye reminiscing about these times. He joined the Canadian airforce as soon as he could and remained in Bermuda working with Catalina sea planes. He flew as a meteorological observer on the flying boats and took control on many occasions. Weather watching was a tricky job...warm, sunny, warm and sunny, sunny and warm…although to be fair they did have the odd hurricane thrown in.

When the war ended, he returned to the UK and joined the MOD as a trainee meteorologist. He met Mum, Jean (or Ginny as he called her), at the Samson and Hercules, a dance hall in Norwich in October 1946 and they married in February 1947, during one of the coldest winters on record. Times were not easy and they lived in disused nissen huts on the air force base. Myles was born the following January and the chance came for a posting to Benghazi in Libya, so off they went with little Myles in tow. Myles was soon speaking fluent Arabic and acting as interpreter for Mum and Dad although whether the words were terribly polite and suitable for a two year old is unlikely! Having no transport, Dad found an abandoned ex-German BMW R75 wartime motorbike and sidecar outfit, and commandeered it for personal use. This still had machine gun mountings in place and on one occasion when they were chased by wild dogs across the desert they wished they still had the guns and ammunition.

Returning to the UK in 1953, they moved to Crawley New Town in Sussex, where I was born. Dad worked in a new and innovative Radio Sond Weather Station beside the newly opened building that was to become Gatwick Airport. He took great delight in the fact that the large weather balloons he launched were often mistaken for UFOs!

Dad never lost the wanderlust and was often away from home, on Weather Ships in the stormy North Atlantic (no satellites in those days), in the Persian Gulf, on experimental expeditions in the Azores and many more. It is fair to say we missed him a lot but we moved back to Norfolk to be nearer the Walkers, Mum's family, and we are still very close. On one occasion, he jumped ship in Dakar, West Africa, and flew home so that he could take Mum on a pre-booked and promised holiday to his beloved Bermuda. On another occasion he only just made it back to the UK for Myles and Liz’s wedding. He always lived life on the edge and believed that something would turn up to sort out a problem!

As Myles and I grew older, Mum was able to join Dad on his trips and during a posting to Germany in the 1970s they travelled all over Europe. Much to Dad’s horror, it was here I met and very quickly married an RAF Navigator. Dad said it would never last but he was wrong for once! Clive frequently mentioned to him that he never got his dowry and Dad’s reply was that he had me and that should be enough!

Once Dad retired, they upped sticks and headed for the expat life in southern Spain. Great for family holidays but sometimes too far away and I know they missed seeing the grandchildren grow up more often. It was while they were in Spain that Mum’s daughter Laraine, born before Mum and Dad met, came back into their lives. Dad welcomed her warmly and continued to keep in touch after Mum died - I think she was very special to him. On leaving Spain, ever one to go his own path, he sold the villa ‘off market’ and brought the cash back home in his suitcase!

Growing older and back in the UK, Mum and Dad moved to Forres in 1996 to be nearer myself and Clive. Sadly Mum died in 2003, after 56 years of marriage. They had a turbulent marriage with many ups and downs but as Mum became less able Dad’s care and understanding of her needs rarely waivered.

Now a widower, Dad’s desire for travel was rekindled and he took up cruises. Aged 80 and more, he visited the Arctic, the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka, South Africa, South America, Hawaii, the South Sea Islands, Australia, New Zealand and many more. The only places he never got to were Antarctica and the Falklands – although I am not sure why he would want to visit there? As in days of old, he took up with the ladies on these cruises and before any departure he was told in no uncertain terms not to come back with a bride!

As he drew towards his 90s, it became apparent that his cruising days were at an end because of his failing mobility. His brain, however, was as sharp as ever, much to the distress of his bridge opponents at the local club in Forres. He won the annual award for most points on several occasions and was delighted when I told him I had taken up the sport. Here he met June and dear Eddie who became a fond friend until he sadly passed away. June continued to be a supportive friend and he loved his day trips out with her.

Always independent and yet cared for by Audrey, he maintained this to the end. He and we are so thankful to her and all she has done for him, macaroni cheese and butteries in particular. I also need to thank Gilda his neighbour, who also always looked out for him, the ladies at the Coop who helped him shop...the list goes on.

Sadly, his passing was sudden, but he would have wanted it that way without doubt. Forres will be a little quieter without the flat-capped gent on his mobility scooter out and about on his daily shopping trips - although I have to say the pavements will be a little safer for everyone too.

Rest in peace Dad, we loved you each in our own ways and you will always be remembered.

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