Sergeant Dennis ‘Tom’ Dooley was the eldest of nine brothers, five of whom served with the King’s. He was killed in a road traffic accident close to his platoon’s base at Sion Mills, just outside Strabane, Northern Ireland. A well liked, promising young sergeant, his mother received many condolence messages.
Accession number RH2011.0063-17087
16th March 1975
Dear Mrs Dooley,
I would like to tell you how deeply sorry I and all this battalion feel about the tragic death of your son Dennis.
Your sons play a big part in this battalion; but ‘Big Tom’, as he was known by us, had an especial place because he had been with us longer than your other sons and was the most senior.
As you will know, he died as a result of an accident when the Land Rover, which he was driving, overturned. He was leading his men on a road patrol at the time with his usual skill and thoroughness. It may be of small comfort for you to know that he did not suffer from his injuries; he lost consciousness when the accident occurred and did not regain it. The hospital did all they could to save him; six doctors were in the operating theatre with him for three or four hours from 1a.m.
At time like this one is always tempted to ask why such a thing must happen to the best, and this is particularly so in the case of your son. He was a man of considerable talent and it is my view that he may one day have been RSM of this battalion.
There is, I know, little anyone can say to soften this blow to you; but I assure you that you and his wife have the deepest sympathy of all of us in 1 Bn, The King’s Regiment. We all share your grief at this loss of a fine man.