D-Day 70: Jim signed up after his family was bombed

Pathfinder Jim Loader.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (141650-11)
Pathfinder Jim Loader.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (141650-11)
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BRAVE Jim Loader joined the war effort after his grandmother’s home was bombed.

The 89-year-old was a pathfinder in the war and flew across to France in a Lancaster at 2.39am on June 5.

He was to fly a further 62 missions afterwards.

His flight logbook from the day, when he was a Flight Sergeant aged just 19, contains a short sentence.

It said: ‘Invasion. Beaches, south west of Le Havre just before 1st landings.’

At yesterday’s D-Day commemorations he was surrounded by his proud family.

Mr Loader, of Uplands Road, Drayton in Portsmouth, said: ‘I had to go and bomb the guns that were firing at our navy.

‘We got away early before they came into sight.

‘They’re firing at us, anything that was down on the ground - we bomb it.

‘There was no English on the ground.’

Mr Loader was with his wife Pat and children John, 61 and Jill, 45.

John said: ‘I’m just very proud that he would go at the age of 19.

‘This is amazing to think someone of that age would go up and do that.’

Mr Loader worked for Portsmouth Aviation at the time fixing planes damaged in test flights.

He signed up to the Royal Air Force after his grandmother’s home was bombed.

He added: ‘She was bombed out.

‘I thought if people are bombing my grandmother I better do something. I was young and able.’

Andrew Bramley, 90, of Colden Common, was a dispatch rider in the royal Armed Service Corps. He landed on Juno beach on D-Day.

He said: ‘I was the dispatch rider, it was terrifying. All we wanted to do was get off that beach. I was in action on sand dunes in five minutes.’

He said the commemorations were ‘fantastic’.