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  "Jimmy" James (1915 - 2008)

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Author Topic:   "Jimmy" James (1915 - 2008)
Blackarrow
Member

Posts: 2024
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 01-21-2008 06:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Please excuse me for straying slightly "off-topic" but I felt I had to record the passing of a remarkable man whom I had the privilege of meeting at Autographica 10 in London last October. Along with Buzz Aldrin, Gene Cernan, Al Bean and Al Worden were two veteran heroes of the Second World War, "Johnny" Johnson (of 617 Squadron, the "dambusters") and Bertram "Jimmy" James, one of the 76 prisoners who tunnelled out of Stalag Luft III prison camp in what we know as "The Great Escape."

"Jimmy" James died on 18th January, aged 92. Only three months ago he stood in front of a spellbound audience at the Autographica venue talking about his experiences and answering questions. On the previous evening I had asked him about the Steve McQueen film. He said that the second half was "pure Hollywood" but that he had enjoyed the first part set inside the prison camp.

If you want a space connection, when Yuri Gagarin visited Britain in 1961 it was Jimmy James who introduced him to Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.

As a life-long space enthusiast, I went to Autographica to meet the Apollo astronauts, but as the son and nephew of three RAF brothers, I was also proud to shake the hand of Jimmy James and I am saddened to learn of his passing.

Per Ardua ad Astra...

ColinBurgess
Member

Posts: 1567
From: Sydney, Australia
Registered: Sep 2003

posted 01-21-2008 07:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the early 1980s, while I was writing a number of books on the Australian POW experience, I contacted 'Jimmy' James with a question about a particular escape attempt, and we stayed in contact. In 1985 he wrote a superb foreword for my book "Destination: Buchenwald," which told the harrowing story of a group of American, Canadian, British, New Zealand and Australian airmen wrongly sent to Buchenwald concentration camp. We stayed in contact, and I recall his delight at being present when one of the Great Escape tunnels was excavated at the site of Stalag Luft III a few years back. I met him once in London, but never since. I will certainly miss him a lot.

Colin

Russ Still
Member

Posts: 522
From: Atlanta, GA USA
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-21-2008 09:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Russ Still   Click Here to Email Russ Still     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wasn't Johnny Johnson the highest scoring ace in the BoB? I did get a couple of autographs from him many years ago. Very sad to hear of the loss of these two figures.

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www.spaceracerelics.com

gliderpilotuk
Member

Posts: 3043
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 01-22-2008 05:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
.

Russ - that was a different Johnny Johnson who passed away in 2001 - the highest scoring RAF fighter pilot to survive the war.

Paul

Russ Still
Member

Posts: 522
From: Atlanta, GA USA
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-22-2008 09:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Russ Still   Click Here to Email Russ Still     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, I do think I recall hearing that he had left us earlier. And would not make much sense that a fighter pilot would transfer to Lancasters dropping skip bombs.

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www.spaceracerelics.com

Rick Mulheirn
Member

Posts: 2457
From: England
Registered: Feb 2001

posted 01-22-2008 02:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is characters like Jimmy that make me proud to be British!

Regards,

Rick

spaceman
Member

Posts: 922
From: Walsall, West Midlands, UK
Registered: Dec 2002

posted 01-31-2008 05:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman   Click Here to Email spaceman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi, the funeral was held today in Shropshire complete with RAF fly past. RIP Jimmy James,

Nick
Spaceman.

cddfspace
Member

Posts: 597
From: Morris County, NJ, USA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 02-06-2008 02:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cddfspace   Click Here to Email cddfspace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
.

randy
Member

Posts: 1287
From: West Jordan, Utah USA
Registered: Dec 1999

posted 02-15-2008 09:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for randy   Click Here to Email randy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
.

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