After joining the Army in 1944 Reg Dunning trained as a glider pilot before travelling to Palestine with the Intelligence Corps.
I was called up to the Army on 2 November 1944, aged 18, with the rank of Private, Service number 14863464.
After my initial training, I served with the South Lancashire regiment, then volunteered for the airborne forces. I was a pilot in the Glider Pilot Regiment and the Army Air Corps, promoted to Corporal in May 1945.
I commenced training on Tiger Moths at RAF Booker and RAF Fairoaks in June 1945, and moved onto Hotspur gliders at RAF Croughton in August 1945. By September 1945, I had been promoted to Sergeant after obtaining my second Pilot’s Wings.
After completing a glider conversion course on Horsa gliders at RAF Brize Norton, postings to various squadrons in the Glider Pilot Regiment (Army Air Corps) followed.
Although I didn’t complete any wartime missions as a glider pilot, I remember the various refresher courses on Tiger Moths.
At this time, I also gained my Civil Aviation ‘A’ licence and a Royal Aero Club certificate in 1946 at the age of 20.
Joining the Intelligence Corps
It was a big disappointment when glider pilots became redundant, so after the Japanese surrender, I applied to join the Intelligence Corps and, after an interview at the War Office in London, I was accepted.
I attended various courses at the School of Military Intelligence and underwent training at Aldershot.
Once I’d completed my training, I was posted to the 6th Airborne Division in Palestine, where I joined the 317 Airborne Field Section at Divisional HQ in Haifa.
Reg with fellow Servicemen during his time in the Middle East
It was in Haifa that one of the saddest moments of my Service occurred, when my friend Sgt John Woozley was shot dead by terrorists in January 1947. On a recent visit to the National Memorial Arboretum, tears were brought to my eyes when I read his name on the main memorial.
Postings to Nazareth and Eastern Galilee followed Haifa, and in Nazareth I served on detachment with the 1 Para Brigade as part of the 317 Field Security Section.
One of my more unusual assignments was being sent out to join HMS Chevron in the Mediterranean to photograph Jewish ‘illegal’ immigrant ships, as they were then known, which were hoping to land on the Palestine coastline.
My general duties included counter-intelligence, the routine examinations of the methods of protecting secret and top secret material and I even received a testimonial from Capt. J.P.T. Linklater MBE, stating that ‘Dunning is a first-class young man whom I am sorry
to lose from this Section on Release’.
Joining The Legion
I was demobbed in 1948. On return to Civvy Street, I entered local government and worked in the Finance and Executive departments of various local authorities within Cheshire.
On re-organisation of local government in 1974, I became an Information and Public Relations Officer for Congleton Borough Council, a post I held until retirement in 1992.
Since leaving the Army, I have been an avid member of my local Legion branch, and have commanded parades in Sandbach for more than 60 years. I’d like to think that parades run smoothly under my guidance, with dignitaries and invited guests directed with ease.