David Arthur Kennedy (1926 – 2023) Memorial Page

With great sadness we learn about the departure of another Second World War veteran, David Kennedy, who  took part in the “Evening of History and Memories” in Churchill college in September 2015 where, together with other Arctic convoy veterans, he shared memories of his wartime experience.  David was featured in our VE-75 presentation in May 2020 (page 11) and in the brochure Remembering the Second World War published in November 2020 (page 11)

David was born on 19 March 1926 in Wood Green in North London, the youngest of 4 boys: Stanley, Charlie, and Dennis and they had an adopted sister, Jean.
David joined the Navy at the age of 17. Although he was underage, that didn’t stop him.

He served on the Russian Convoys in WWII and was awarded the Arctic Star along with many other medals which he wore with pride. Recently he was awarded the French Legion d’honneur for his work in the mine sweeping the channel in preparation for the D Day landings. That was a very proud day.

David married his beloved Doreen in 1949, then they emigrated to Australia. Doreen was beautiful and looked very young for her age so that people on the ship often gave David disapproving looks! Sadly, life in Australia didn’t quite work out as planned and the couple returned to London. They lived at 158 Drury Lane which was a café run by David’s mum. David soon got a job as a Night Porter in Covent Garden market and soon they moved into their own council flat in Seven Dials. David remained at Covent Garden market for the best part of 40 years.

Eventually, they moved to Wood Green and David became a very active founding member of Tottenham Sports Centre, running the skating club and the table tennis team. Notably the team travelled to Holland where they played against a Dutch team and got slaughtered! Still today, whenever any of David’s family meet someone from the past they always ask, “how’s your dad”. He got his children involved in sports and made them feel at ease often through “taking the mick” out of them.

David was an avid Tottenham fan and took the family to Tottenham High Road in 1961 to celebrate with crowds of fans as the Spurs team travelled along the High Road in their bus holding the trophy aloft, in a sea of blue and white! They’d only gone and won the double! David joined the Freemasons and was social secretary for many years. The Ladies Nights arranged by David were legendary and he was always the last one to leave the dance floor!

David and Doreen moved to Cornwall in the 1980’s but David was still working and travelled from Covent Garden market every weekend for 5 years until his retirement, when he joined Doreen in their Cornish home. The staff at Paddington Station knew David as “the flower man” as he was always armed with bunches of flowers, fruit, and veg from the market to take home.

In later life David joined the Russian Convoy club and, with his fellow veterans, travelled to Moscow and St. Petersburg where they were worshipped as heroes. Along with many of his fellow Russian Convoy veterans, he was invited to HMS Belfast where they were given the highest honour in the Russian Navy, the Ushakov medal. Another proud day.

David was also involved in the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans and went on trips, notably to Normandy and many other places with them. Their journeys would start off in a long line of London taxis – a sight for sore eyes. David was proud to collect for the ‘Taxi Charity for Military Veterans’ at various London Underground stations.

He was a wonderful dad to his 3 children, Stephen, Lesley and Tracy, and a brilliant grandad to his 6 grandchildren, Jesse, Samantha, Kirstie, Lauren, Emily and Justin. He leaves behind 5 great grandchildren, Quinn, Isla, Charley, Zakkary and Henry.

Sadly, David passed away on Monday 30th January 2023, aged 96 years.
He will be missed – a light has gone out.

NB: This text is based on the Eulogy kindly provided by David’s family.

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