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George Dexter

 

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Dutch version

GEORGE  HARRY DEXTER

The Last Slamat survivor

 

A REPORT FROM OUR VISIT IN BIRMINGHAM-UK

August 11th 2009

Birmingham - UK

68 years after war veteran George Dexter survived heavy bombardments and constantly machine gun fire on the  troopship ss Slamat and the British destroyer HMS Wryneck, the founder of the KRL Museum, Ed van Lierde, his spouse and British friends payed tribute to war hero George Harry Dexter in his Birmingham house. 

We were surprised about meeting a 92-year-old nice fellow who directly started to play the song 'Roll out the barrel' on his organ. War seemed to have had no traumatic influence on this jolly soldier. Also striking was the way George told his unbelievable story, for the umpteenth time. We have it all on video, also his organ concert at the end in which George Dexter played songs from the 1940s like the inevitable 'We'll meet again" by Vera Lynn. George proudly showed us his many awards (see picture above).


ARTICLES IN THE BIRMINGHAM POST

 
 
 
 
 
 

A REPORT FROM OUR SECOND VISIT TO GEORGE DEXTER

by Frans Luidinga, Ed van Lierde and a film crew

Engeland - Birmingham: 16 t/m 19 december 2009

Although George Dexter, certainly for his 92 years, still was a energetic man, our Chairman Ed van Lierde and son of the Slamat-captain, Frans Luidinga considered it as a too big risk to wait any longer with a video interview. They took a professional film crew with them to Birmingham. The Film company ZIGMA at Harlingen The Netherlands departed with the ships' model of ss Slamat (Goert Giltay, winner of a 'Golden Calf' for camera work and Eugene van den Bosch - sound), 

 

please click image for enlargement

Article in Dutch newspaper Algemeen dagblad (AD) on the day of departure to England (December 16th 2009). A good article, but with the 'headline Titanic' we were significantly less happy!


In a wintry Birmingham we made a perfect first start for a possible future documentary about Operation Demon an the lost soldiers, crew and three ships: ss Slamat, HMS Diamond, HMS Wryneck. Together with George Dexter we all visited the Royal British Legion, where we were welcomed by their President. At that time a team of the newspaper 'Birmingham Mail' arrived. Their photographer made photos while our film crew filmed George Dexter (in full Veteran uniform) in the freezing cold, George told us how he arranged the (at that time) only Slamat monument in the world. (In 2011 a Dutch Slamat monument was unveiled by the Major of Rotterdam-The Netherlands.

 

            

Full of admiration, pride and gratitude with we looked at the way the British commemorate important events in the past, even this form small monument is more than the Dutch. So it could happen that the largest disaster in Dutch Merchant Navy has no monument in The Netherlands but in England ................ another reason to think about! 

On January 2nd 2010, an article in the Birmingham Mail, see below.

 

Please click image for enlargement

It really was fantastic that the Birmingham Mail made an appeal to the readers to help The Royal Rotterdam Lloyd Museum financing a documentary project.
 
 
 
 

GEORGE HARRY DEXTER DECEASED ON JULY 13th 2014

Farewell to a soldier with an unbelievable life

On Sunday July 13th 2014 George Dexter deceased. Until that time he was the last living survivor and eyewitness of the Slamat/Diamond/Wryneck disaster on April 27th 1941 in the Mediterranean Sea. He survived the heavy bombardments on our passengership ss Slamat as well as the heavy shells on the British destroyer HMS Wryneck. At last his leg was severly wounded and George had to be nursed for those wounds for the last 73 years.

Slamat Commemoration and Slamat Documentary

George Dexter became a symbol of this 'forgotten' war disaster and told anyone who wanted to hear his unbelievable story know (and actually there were many of them!). That story was also told by George (via his video-interview) at the Great Slamat/Diamond/Wryneck Commemoration in 2011, Rotterdam-The Netherlands. His 'Grand iterview' will also appear prominently in the Slamat-documentary. This documentary has its première on Saturday May 2nd 2015.

For more information about this international Première, please see website chapter: 'Museumprojecten' sub: Slamat-documentaire'.

 

Corporal George Harry Dexter (nr.: 206084)

Royal Army Service Corps (RASC) 308th Company

Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME)

Middel East Forces 1940-1945

 

A sad George after a Melanoma-surgery in 2014

FUNERAL ON FRIDAY JULY 25th 2014

Relatives were afraid that 'War Hero' George Dexter would get a lonely funeral. Were are happy that nothing less was true because at least 50 family members, war veterans, nurses who have assisted him until the last moment and a Dutch 4-person-delegation brought George, with Military honours, to his final resting place. 

Frans Luidinga, the son of the Slamat Captain was accompanied by one of his grandsons. Several years ago he heard from George the story about what exactly happened with his father on ss Slamat and after survival on HMS Diamond.

Ed van Lierde said in his speech that the death of George absolutely does not mean that what had happened on April 27th 1941 in the Mediterranean, now is just a matter of history books. As long as there are still Slamat-sons and daughters, who are suffering from their traumas, the disaster with our passenger ship ss Slamat and her protectors: HMS Diamond and HMS Wryneck will not be over or forgotten!!

At the end of the impressive ceremony The Last Post' was played.

   

                        George arrives at the funeral church                                 Veterans welcoming their 'Brother' 

                   

 The coffin is carried into the beautiful church                                  

Georges' nurses were also present!

         

Veteran tribute to a deceased hero!                                         Last honour to a brother

    

Last honour to a brother!

     

                                   At the end the 'Last Post'                                           Poppy's en flowers also from our Museum

                                                                                 

  Interview Frans Luidinga by BBC TV

THREE (SHORT) CEREMONY VIDEO's 

 

 

 

 

RELATIVES DONATE GEORGE DEXTERs' WAR MEDALS TO OUR MUSEUM 

Our President Ed van Lierde, accompanied by his wife Josje van Lierde-Olivier and British friend Judy Manners attended the funeral. After the impressing funeral Ed received Georges' War medals (four British and two Greek medals). It will be clear that this gift is a very great honour for the Royal Rotterdam Lloyd Museum!

From left to right: British Star 1939-1945, British Afrika Star, British Defence Medal with King George VI, British War Medal with King George VI, Royal Greek War Medal and Greek Campaign Medal.

BRITISH HEADLINES:

* George Dexter's funeral: Dozens turn out for WW2 veteran  

(BBC News - July 25th 2014)

* Military funeral for WWII veteran who survived being sunk twice by Germans. 

(Birmingham Mail - July 16th 2014)

* A war vet who survived after both his ships and the rescue destroyer were sunk by German bombs, is to be given a full military funeral.  

(Birmingham Mail - July 16th 2014)

* Military send-off for brave George Dexter - the man the Germans couldn't sink.  

(Birmingham Mail - July 25th 2014)

 

the Documentary folder

GEORGE DEXTER WILL PERFORM ONE MORE TIME .................

On Saturday, May 2nd 2015 George Harry Dexter will perform for the last time at the première of the Slamat/Diamond/ Wryneck Documentary. During the 3D-images about the disaster itself (almost 1000 deaths!) George will tell about his eyewitness-experience (video interview - 2010).

SLAMAT TIDUR GEORGE !!