Dennis Over

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ME453
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Dennis Over

Post by ME453 »

It is with great sadness that I learned today from his son Graham that dear Dennis Over passed away on 4 October. His health had been failing over the past year or two with significant periods in hospital, but his optimism and in particular love for his wife Peggy remained undiminished. I'm pleased to say that he and his old skipper Johnny Meagher managed to visit the Bomber Command memorial in Green Park a few weeks ago.
Rest in peace Dennis, I'll miss you.
Max
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Dedicated to the crew of Lancaster ME453 467 squadron

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Re: Dennis Over

Post by K4KittyCrew »

Dear Max,

Many thanks for all your help with keeping me / us, informed of Dennis over the past year.
As you will know, I had the pleasesure of meeting Dennis over the internet quite some years ago and shared a few phone calls along the way.

Even in his senior years, Dennis had a vibrant nature about him and his enthusiasm for everything Bomber Command had no bounds.
I had the pleasure of introducing Dennis to both the Short Stirling & RAF Bomber Command Forum and the Lancaster Archive Forum.
In both cases, Dennis was always a wealth of knowledge and intrigued us with his knowledge and first hand experiences.

I still remember Dennis telling me how he fell out of his turret whilst taking off. The story is here on the forum.


"Hi.
My name is Dennis Over, I have just been introduced for the first time to this site by John Pollard, the writer of the tail wheel situation. for which I thank him. I was the tail gunner involved.
Our second tour pilot Sqdrn.Ldr. Johnny Meagher was an instructor at 1654 HCU. between tours. Another friend Colin Watt from Adelaide also instructed there at the same time 1943-4..
The Stirling had some virtues & many vices. For example the RAF wanted certain modifications to increase performance but as production was too far advanced one compromise was to increase the length of the main undercarriage legs for a better take off performance. The planned wingspan of the a/c. being too wide for the standard RAF hangars, the wings were clipped thus giving a reduced service ceiling.

I am pleased to say that Colin & Johnny are still around, we remain close friends. Colin visits each year from Australia. We had our annual get-together just 3 weeks ago.
So much is going to pass unrecorded, the quality & quantity of historic information that those two keep on unfolding when we get our heads together is quite remarkable.
For example the a/c. that Gibson used on the Dams raid became tour expired & remained at Metheringham. Johnny Meagher became an instructor pilot there. This was the a/c. that he mainly used for checking out new pilots to the squadron & many other "Hack" duties. The Air Historic Branch requested & were given permission by Johnny to photostat his log books.
After his instruction period Colin was recalled to Australia VIA the USA where he converted to Liberators & joined an Australian squadron in the Far East campaign.
Coiln flew with an Australian Airline until his retirement. He was chosen to demonstrate & take the replica "Southern Cross" trimotor on it's tour of Australia & New Zealand. We have only just gleaned this info. from him.


Regarding "Violent Swings on Take Off" - Stirlings. Having twin manually retractable tail wheels. The wheels had tyres with special ridges to try and cure the problem of the wheels aligning, they were free castoring.

It was discovered that unless the wheels were aligned very straight at the start of the take-off, they would begin to oscilate getting more severe as speed increased, often causing the aircraft to swing off course at critical points. The cure was very effective. When the aircraft turned onto the runway, it first stopped, at which stage the rear gunner swung the turret to port, slid open the twin doors & with feet secured under the turret structure, leant right out and slightly down giving full view of the wheels, thus advising the skipper that "wheels in view". The Pilot then began slow forward movement gradually increasing speed & when the gunner called "wheels straight", take-off commenced. The gunner then had to promptly get back in and close his doors.

On one occasion, I made a fool of myself because at 1654 HCU, all spare land area was put under cultivation with the 'Land Army Girls'. A group of girls were standing alongside watching aircraft curcuits & bumps. I turned and waved etc. to them, leaning slightly back & promptly fell out, helped by the slipstream, leaving one boot behind. I was neither the first or the last to fall out. It was only a short drop. Control tower told my pilot after take-off but the mid upper gunner had already spotted me. They were instructed to carry on their training exercise."

Regards,
Dennis Over


Thank you Dennis for taking the time to allow us into your world.
Regards,
John

Footnote - The only image I have of Dennis and some of his crew and Max.
Image courtesy of Max.
Image
K for Kitty Crew - Winthorpe, 1661 HCU's - stirlingaircraftsoc.raf38group.org/
630 Squadron - East Kirkby
" There is nothing glorious about war with the exception of those who served us so valiantly"

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ME453
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Re: Dennis Over

Post by ME453 »

As Lisa Sharp said, Dennis was always a gentleman. The last time I visited him, probably June time, he was recovering from a fall but had a very attractive nurse who made his injuries very bearable! Dennis of course had a fair amount of banter with her. Mercifully his son Graham suspects that dear Peggy is blissfully unaware of his passing. I'm going to his funeral on 20th October, I'll be sure to let Graham know how much Dennis was respected, loved and appreciated.
Max
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Dedicated to the crew of Lancaster ME453 467 squadron

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Re: Dennis Over

Post by wayne »

So sad to hear the news about Dennis.

Although I never had the pleasure of meeting Dennis, we did correspond via email.
This goes back to the Lancaster Archive forum, as some of you will remember.

I liked the way Dennis referred to "My darling Peggy" and how he looked after her.

His memory of his time as a rear gunner was just amazing. A sad loss indeed.

A true gentleman.

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Re: Dennis Over

Post by PAFG »

A very sad loss, Dennis was always so helpful here and on the Lancaster forum. An astonishing generation, dwindling fast.

All the best for the 20th Max, please pass on best wishes and condolences to Graham and the rest of the family.

Richard

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At Last The Teabag Can Be Retired

Post by kookabat »

I managed to arrange a visit to drag open the metaphorical hangar doors with Dennis and Peggy while in the UK in 2010. He even treated me to a cup of tea from the famous "reuseable teabag", which I am certain can now breathe a sigh of relief and finally be retired... :lol:

There's a photo of our meeting on my blog.

Very sad news, and I'll miss the banter too.

Adam
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Re: Dennis Over

Post by Bruno »

Hello,

We've lost a great man.
R.I.P.

Bruno
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ME453
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Re: Dennis Over

Post by ME453 »

John and Bruno, that's a really lovely gesture putting "in memory of Dennis Over" on the forum header. I know he would have appreciated it, but of course in his self-deprecating way, thought he didn't deserve it.
Max
www.ordinarycrew.co.uk
Dedicated to the crew of Lancaster ME453 467 squadron

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Re: Dennis Over

Post by K4KittyCrew »

Yes it is Max and all credit must go to Bruno.
Lovely gesture, Bruno.
Cheers,
John
K for Kitty Crew - Winthorpe, 1661 HCU's - stirlingaircraftsoc.raf38group.org/
630 Squadron - East Kirkby
" There is nothing glorious about war with the exception of those who served us so valiantly"

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Re: Dennis Over

Post by PAFG »

A nice touch, thanks Bruno!

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