AT the Battle of Bure during the Second World War, 80 per cent of the Belgian village was destroyed as Allied forces fought to liberate locals from German occupancy.

A total of 65 British paratroopers were killed during the three-day battle while many more were injured, including Dennis Lister, of the 13th Parachute Battalion, who survived being shot twice by a sniper through a fortunate stroke of luck.

The sniper aimed for Dennis’s heart, but he had a tobacco case in his breast pocket, which diverted the bullet into his arm. He was also wounded by a bullet to the leg.

The exploits of Mr Lister, who also fought in Arnhem during the war, were brought home to his family in Allendale through research carried out by his great-grandson Tom Bloomer (12).

While a pupil at Bishop Mill Primary School, in Scotland, a couple of years ago, Tom, who now attends Hexham Middle School, was asked to carry out a research project on the broad topic of bridges.

Knowing his great-grandfather had fought to protect three bridges in the war, Tom delved into the veteran’s story and discovered he had been wounded on January 3, 1945 in Bure next to Dinant Bridge on the first day of the three-day battle.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of his great-grandfather being wounded, Tom visited the Belgian town along with younger brother Luke (10), parents Fay Tinnon and Stephen Bloomer and Mr Lister’s daughter Kathy Tinnon and her husband Paul.

As more questions about his great-grandfather’s war service were being answered, Tom threw himself more into the project and it culminated in the poignant visit to the place of the injury.

While there, the family participated in the annual roast boar celebration dinner and joined in with the commemoration celebrations for those that fought in the Battle of Bure.

Tom said: “I knew he had fought for bridges and had been shot in the war, but we didn’t know where until I started to carry out the research. By now, I was intrigued by what he had done.

“Bure is such a small village and is quite an unknown battle as it gets overlooked by the bigger ones. The village doesn’t tend to get many visitors from abroad that had family in the battle, and we were made very welcome once we arrived.

“I can tell that my great-grandfather was exceptional and I wanted to find out more about him. I wish I had met him. He seemed like a really determined guy who just got on with it, but also regretted it after the war and didn’t want to talk about it.”

Tom’s mother Fay said she was proud of her son for continuing with the research and answering many unanswered questions the family had been wondering about for years.

She said: “I loved my grandfather a great deal and he was great fun, so it’s nice to see my sons appreciate the sacrifice he was prepared to make.

“He would never talk about what happened to him during the war and we didn’t know where he was wounded, so Tom has answered a lot of questions. The trip was very poignant, and very emotional for my mother.”