Tributes to war veteran who died in tragedy at home

Joan and Dennis Nicholls celebrating their diamond wedding in 2007.
Photo: Bill Darnell

Joan and Dennis Nicholls celebrating their diamond wedding in 2007. Photo: Bill Darnell - Credit: Archant � 2007

Investigations are today continuing into the death of a Second World War veteran at his home in south Lowestoft.

Dennis Nicholls, 89, was found at his home in Kirkley Run with serious injuries shortly before 9pm on Wednesday. He had called police at 8.50pm stating he had concerns for his safety.

Despite receiving treatment from paramedics, he died later at the scene.

A 52-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of murder and has been detained under the Mental Health Act.

Mr Nicholls and his late wife, Joan, had a daughter, a son and a number of grandchildren and great grandchildren.

They moved to Lowestoft in 1969, where Mr Nicholls had a job as a boat builder at Brooke Marine.

The couple belonged to the Railway Bowls Club in Lowestoft for a number of years and, in 1987, Mr Nicholls became the Saga Over-60s English national bowls champion.

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Mr Nicholls was a gunner on the destroyer HMS Tumult in the Mediterranean from 1943 to 1945. While on HMS Tumult, he helped to rescue 10 Yugoslavian prisoners from on board a German vessel as they were on their way to be executed.

Friends and neighbours of Mr Nicholls have paid tribute to him. John Walford, a member of the Railway Bowls Club, said: “He was a very good player as far as we were concerned. He was a very quiet, unassuming and very kind man.”

Mr Walford added that Mr Nicholls had also helped to build the bowls club pavilion during the 1980s.

Peter Nolloth, 79, lived near to Mr Nicholls in Kirkley Run. He said: “I had known him for many years. He was a very nice gentleman.”

Following a post-mortem examination, the cause of Mr Nicholls’ death is unascertained but police are treating it as murder.

Suffolk police have referred the incident to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), as there had been recent police contact with the victim.