Celebrations as 95-year-old city naval veteran publishes his Second World War memoirs

Denis Cole with Captain Bill Oliphant and Denis's daughter Christine Mustchin. Picture by Duncan Shepherd
Denis Cole with Captain Bill Oliphant and Denis's daughter Christine Mustchin. Picture by Duncan Shepherd
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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FRIENDS, family and the captain of Portsmouth Naval Base united to celebrate the publication of a veteran’s memoir.

A Portsmouth resident since 1961, Dennis Cole was joined by close friends and naval dignitaries at a party marking the release of his book ‘Out of My Hands: Memories of a ‘Sparker’ from World War II’.

Held yesterday at the Cockleshell Community Centre in Eastney, the get-together doubled up as a book-signing for Mr Cole – who will donate proceeds from his work to the Royal Naval Benevolent Trust.

The 95-year-old, who served as a naval telegraphist during the Second World War, said: ‘I have been absolutely flabbergasted by the turnout today.

‘I lost lots of dear friends during the war, but along the way we enjoyed some amazing experiences together.

‘To be able to share them in this book is wonderful.’

The publication of Mr Cole’s memoir was made possible by his daughter, Christine Mustchin.

The book’s researcher and writer, she said: ‘I am so proud of what my father has achieved.

‘To be able to spend time with him and recall each step of his journey has been an honour.

‘The publication of this book really is testament to how important it is that we remember the lives and stories of our veterans.’

Captain of Portsmouth Naval Base, Bill Oliphant, attended the event to show his support for Dennis.

He said: ‘Having been in the navy myself for 35 years, I fully understand the comradery Dennis describes in his memoir.

‘It is really special to be asked to come here today and reminisce his stories and what Christine has done is just fantastic.’