CONTINUING our series looking at the stories behind D-Day heroes who will have statues named after them on the 74th anniversary of D-Day on June 6, today we turn the spotlight on Frederick William ‘Dicky’ Whittle.

Fred Whittle, known locally as ‘Dicky’ Whittle, was born in Fortuneswell, Portland on March 24, 1911. He left school at the age of 14 and started work at Portland Dockyard as an apprentice rigger. The Admiralty trained him to be a deep sea diver and he qualified at Portsmouth in 1937. Being in a reserved occupation, Dicky was not called up in 1939 but carried out invaluable and often dangerous work in and around the dockyard during the war.

Working on the Royal Marine Auxiliary Service (RMAS) ‘Moordale’ he was involved in the salvage operation of HMS Foylebank - the ship bombed in Portland harbour - and with the mooring and disguising of the Phoenix Caissons before they were towed to Normandy. He was also heavily involved in the hundreds of berthing and loading operations of the various ships involved in the D-Day landings and subsequent supply operations.

Dicky lived at 23 Wakeham, Portland, with his wife and eight children. He smoked Woodbines cigarettes and enjoyed a pint at his local, the Corner House pub. He died in 1967 at the age of 56.

Dicky is depicted on the Caissons, having a ‘brew’ of tea, sitting on a box enjoying a well-earned rest.