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News > OS News > OS remembered in BBC D-Day 80 commemorations

OS remembered in BBC D-Day 80 commemorations

6 Jun 2024
Written by Jennifer Law
OS News

OS remembered in BBC D-Day 80 commemorations

As the nation solemnly commemorates the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings, we as a College community remember an OS who lost his life in the immediate days after the landmark amphibious landing. Remembered in the Roll of Honour and on the College War Memorial on the Memorial Hall, Lieutenant Theodore Alexander Maurice Ionides RNVR (AH,14-17) landed with his party in the American sector at Omaha Beach. His party’s target was Cherbourg, sabotaging radar stations on the way. However, on D-day +4, June 11, when the party had reached Sainte-Mère-Église, he was sadly killed by anti-personnel bombs dropped from enemy aircraft. 

Born in 1900, upon leaving the College in 1917 Theodore Ionides went to the Royal Naval Engineering College at Keyham and in 1918 he went to sea as a midshipman. When the war was over, he left the Navy and went to The Queens College, Oxford, where he was among the first intake of undergraduates to read Engineering. A subject which had not been considered a scholarly enough until its value was recognised after the War. 

When the Second World War was declared, he enlisted back into the Navy, this time into Naval Intelligence; by now a renowned bomb disposal expert, he was one of Ian Fleming’s commandos - 30 Assault Unit.

In 1943 Theodore was sent to Malta. His movements kept secret from his family due to his vital naval intelligence role. During his time stationed in Malta, undertaking a critical German bomb retrieval and defusal mission in Sicily he was able to send important bomb specific defusal intelligence back to the Admiralty.

Returning home, for what was to be the last time, that autumn, he spent valuable time with his wife and two young daughters, their last family photograph taken during a visit to Hampton Court. Throughout his stay he was involved in the preparations for the Normandy invasion. An invasion which invariably ended his life at just 44 years old. He is laid to rest in the Bayeaux Cemetery in France, alongside 4143 comrades lost during the Normandy invasion.

During the BBC D-Day Commemorations coverage (D-Day 80, Tribute to the Fallen) on 5 June, Lieutenant Ionides was remembered fondly by his Daughter, Anthea, aged just 9 when her Father died. Anthea can be seen to be interviewed by Kirsty Young in this iplayer recording of the commemorations at 28.30 minutes and she eloquently reads a dedication as part of the formal ceremony, overseen by the Princess Royal, at 1hr 08 minutes into the coverage.

We share our solemn gratitude and respect for the outstanding service that Lieutenant Theodore Ionides RNVR (AH,14-17) gave to the Country.

We will remember him.


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