- In Part 3 of a Leader exclusive of Normandy Vet Jim Jolly’s memoirs, he talks about having no animosity towards the Germans; guarding a prison camp and SS officers.
- The end of WW 2; de-mob; joining the Military police. Cleator, Cumbria, with his wife Mary and daughter Linda and returning to France, as part of the 1939-45 veterans. Andrew Atkinson reports.
I HAD no animosity towards the ordinary German soldiers – words of Normandy Vet Jim Jolly.
“When we were escorting them on prisoner trains they would ask for cigarettes – I thought they were just the same as us,” said Jim, who guarded a prison camp in Germany.
“It was the regime we hated – the SS officers we came across in the prison camp were vile.
“The Nazi regime just wanted to keep fighting and the camp was filled with 60 year old men – and 14 year old boys – who had been enlisted as soldiers at the end of the war. It was pitiful,” said Jim.
After de-mob Jim joined the military police in 1945, stationed at Wuppertal and Dusseldorf in Germany. All the country’s economy collapsed, with one staple currency being cigarettes.
“My friend Des and I bought a dog, Tref, off a German – for 2,000 cigarettes,” said Jim.
“One day we were walking the dog and spotted the German on the other side of the road. He called Tref over – and that was the last we saw of the dog!,” said Jim.
While in the military police Jim dealt with illegal money issues and the black market. On his birthday in 1945 he was asked to escort a British firing squad, who were about to shoot Polish officer, found guilty of murder.
Jim said in his memoirs: “I remember it clearly. Six members of the squad and six others back-up, in case anyone conscientiously objected to the shooting.”
Upon leaving the military police, Jim was a taxi driver in Billercay, before moving with his wife Mary and eldest child Linda to Cleator Moor, where they completed their family, with sons Kenneth and Graeme, the latter resident in Los Montesinos, Alicante.
Jim and Mary celebrated their Diamond wedding anniversary in 2005, having booked a quiet meal in a local restaurant.
“On the night before our meal our granddaughter said she would like us to come for a drink at the Wath Brow British Legion.
“When we arrived we found every single member of our family there waiting for us. It was wonderful.
“My relatives had told me they couldn’t travel from the south, but were also there. It was very special,” said Jim.
Jim, the West Cumbria branch secretary of the Normandy Vets, travelled back to France several times. Members included 1939-45 veterans.
In 2004 Jim and Mary travelled to Normandy, with other branch members and wives, to celebrate D-Day with thousands of survivors at the site of one of the most incredible stories of the 20th century.
Speaking to The Leader son Graeme Jolly, said: “Mum and dad discovered Spain in the seventies and had frequent trips to various regions, including Guardamar and Torrevieja and loved it.”
From 2005, Jim and Mary visited Spain frequently, as their two sons and daughter, had all bought property here.
The last trip Jim Jolly made was in 2008.
Jim died in April 2009, and wife, Mary, died in 2011.