D-DAY and Dunkirk Veteran Jim Pass, 102, Dies with Covid after ‘amazing life’.
One of Yorkshire’s last Dunkirk and D-Day veterans who went on to become a Camping and Caravanning Club stalwart has died with Covid at the age of 102. Jim Pass, who was born in Castleford in August 1918 spent most of his life in Horsforth on the outskirts of Leeds before moving to Sheffield in the final decades of his life. He died on November 4 shortly after being diagnosed with coronavirus.
His step-daughter Kerensa Welsby said Jim had moved into a care home in July following a fall at home. She said it had been a difficult for few months for the family, as Jim, who had Alzheimer’s disease, was unable to have visitors including his wife Rita inside the care home due to the pandemic.
“The last time my mum gave him a hug was when he went into the care home in July. He couldn’t quite understand why she wouldn’t go into the home,” she said. “It has been quite a traumatic period. But there are blessings. He was 102 and actually died quite peacefully. He didn’t suffer which he could have done with Covid and he lived an amazing life.”
D-Day and Dunkirk Veteran Jim Pass was a motorbike dispatch rider in the early stages of the war where he delivered messages between military lines. During the dramatic retreat to Dunkirk, Jim was part of an ammunition convoy that got strafed by German planes, causing huge explosions and leaving him on his own. On his way to the beaches, he ditched his bike in a canal so the Germans couldn’t use it.
Kerensa said: “He came across an abandoned village where he was lucky enough to find a tin of sausages. He scoffed the lot, only to be violently sick as the food was too rich for his starved stomach.”
On D-Day in 1944, Jim drove a DUKW amphibious vehicle bringing ammunition onshore to Sword Beach. After the landings he was tasked with landing his glider in Holland and fought with his comrades across to Germany, passing by the recently-liberated Belsen concentration camp where thousands of people had been kept in terrible conditions.
Kerensa fondly recalled the many colourful war stories that Jim would tell, which included him selling his cigarette rations to other soldiers as he was not a smoker himself. She said: “You got paid but he never touched his money. He came out of the war in credit but they lost the records so while other soldiers had their debts wiped out, he had actually been in credit.”
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