Tributes paid to '˜kind' Gosport veteran shot twice during D-Day

TRIBUTES have been paid to a heroic Second World War veteran shot twice during the D-Day landings.

Tuesday, 4th July 2017, 12:50 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 8:41 am
Jim Tuckwell pictured in 2009 at the grave of his best friend Jim Haydon who died on August 12, 1944
Jim Tuckwell pictured in 2009 at the grave of his best friend Jim Haydon who died on August 12, 1944

Friends, historians and military associations have remembered Jim Tuckwell, who has died aged 94.

The veteran, who lived in Gosport, was one of thousands of young soldiers to take part in the decisive Normandy invasion on June 6, 1944.

Serving with the 1st Dorsets, he was wounded within minutes of landing at Gold Beach; he was shot first in the left arm then again in the chest while sheltering behind a bank of sand.

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Jim Tuckwell describes his experiences to museum visitors in 2010

He was evacuated to the UK where he recovered in hospital. Within six weeks, he returned to Normandy to take part in the fighting once more.

After the war, he became a well-known figure in Portsmouth, volunteering for decades at the city’s D-Day Museum, telling his war stories to visitors.

Andrew Whitmarsh, of the D-Day Museum, said Jim’s death was a great loss for the city.

‘He was a modest gentleman with a great sense of humour who always put people at their ease,’ he said.

Jim Tuckwell on a Normandy beach when he returned to France with The News for the 65th anniversary commemoration of D-Day in 2009

‘We will miss him and are grateful for the amount of time he gave up to talk to the public.’

In later life, Jim joined the Portsmouth branch of the Normandy Veterans’ Association, revisiting the D-Day landing beaches in 2009.

In 2013 he was among seven members of the group to receive a top award for his efforts.

His friend, Eddie Wallace, 93, former chairman of Portsmouth’s Normandy Veterans’ Association, said Jim was dedicated to supporting the museum.

Jim Tuckwell describes his experiences to museum visitors in 2010

‘He was a very likeable chap and was very well liked at the museum as he especially took the time to talk to students, notably French ones, about the history,’ he said.

‘Jim was the kind of man that got on well with everybody and he was very dedicated to the museum. It is such sad news to hear that he has now passed on.’

Widower Jim was also part of armed forces charity the Not Forgotten Assocation.

The organisation provides entertainment and recreational events for wounded, injured or sick military personnel and for sick or disabled veterans.

Jim Tuckwell on a Normandy beach when he returned to France with The News for the 65th anniversary commemoration of D-Day in 2009

A spokesman for the charity said the association was ‘very saddened’ by Jim’s death, adding: ‘Jim was kind, generous and a real favourite with everyone.’