D-Day landings war hero dies aged 90

D-Day veteran Jim Stewart, formerly of Cleckheaton, has died aged 90.
D-Day veteran Jim Stewart, formerly of Cleckheaton, has died aged 90.

The family of a WWII veteran who fought at the D-Day landings have paid tribute after he has died aged 90.

Jim Stewart, formerly of Woodhead Street, Cleckheaton, passed away last Friday after a long illness.

His granddaughter Sophie Little, 23, said: “Even up until he got taken into hospital he was still laughing and joking.”

He had celebrated his 90th birthday on January 11 and “even then he asked for a glass of Baileys, raised his glass and said ‘Cheers!’”

Born in 1925, Jim was brought up in Heap Court, Bradford. At 18 he was drafted for the war, joining the East Yorkshire Regiment 2nd Batalion, C company.

He battled in the first wave of the Normandy landings, and his enduring memory was simply of seeing a house as he approached Sword Beach.

In June 1944 he was wounded when a shell exploded and shrapnel was embedded into his lower back.

Sophie said: “He recalled once he was injured and was being dragged by a medic only half-conscious through the war zone, where he knew he needed a helmet. He picked up the nearest one and then later discovered it was German! Let’s just say he was not happy!”

After the war, Jim married Betty, the widow of fellow soldier Alf – the pals had made apromise that if anything happened, the other would look after their family.

They moved to Huddersfield where between 1947 and 1966 they had four boys, Brian, Reid, Brent and Glyn. Betty died in 1980.

Jim became a patron of Bridon Wire club in Cleckheaton, where he met future partner Joan Stephenson and moved to the town.

When Joan passed away in 2000, Jim found a best friend in Steve Fisher.

The regulars of the Marsh pub would talk for hours about Jim’s war stories, and visited the Chateau he was taken to when injured.

He spent 25 years in retirement but had worked as a lorry driver for various companies. From this, he became friends with Richard Chandler, whom he saw regularly while bowling at Whitcliffe Mount Sports Centre.

Jim was in the Normandy Veteran Association, attending Cleckheaton Remembrance services yearly.

A great-great-grandfather, Jim leaves close family including his son Glyn and granddaughters Trudy, Justine and Sophie. His funeral will take place at Park Wood Crematorium in Elland at 11.15am on Wednesday, February 18.

Family flowers only.