This morning at 11.45 in Kirkaldy Crematorium, a formidable Gunner Jimmy Sinclair aged 107 years old is being laid to rest in a private family service.
Jim passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday, 27th May, 2020, at the age of 107 years. He was a beloved husband of the late Elizabeth, cherished father of Olive and the late David, loved father-in-law of Roy, also proud grandfather of Lorna, Susan and Roy, and a loving great grandfather of Ruby, also a friend to many. Jim will be sorely missed by so many people.
Below is some information about Jimmy’s life which was collated by Poppy Scotland.
Jimmy Sinclair, who is the last surviving Desert Rat, fought against Rommel in the north African desert. He served as a gunner with the elite Chestnut Troop, 1st Regiment Horse Artillery, of the 7th Armoured Division. He received numerous medals for his Service during the Second World War before later serving for two years with the Allied Control Commission in Berlin before returning to Scotland to work as a slater.
Recalling his time during the War, Jimmy, who was brought up in Giffordown, near Ladybank, reflects: “It’s a pity it all happened. We didn’t treat the Germans as enemies; they were combatants in battle. Most of them didn’t want to be there either.”
Jimmy moved back to Germany in 1981 following the passing of his wife. He lived with friends he had made after the War and spent 22 years in the Eifel region. He was a personal acquaintance of Field Marshal Rommel’s son, Manfred, who was an important statesman in Germany and a former Lord Mayor of Stuttgart. Jimmy returned to Kirkcaldy at the tender age of 92.
Among other high-profile friends of Jimmy is the Duchess of Cornwall, who is known to send him birthday cards and letters. The Duchess’s father was a Desert Rat, too. The man from Kirkcaldy refuses to wear his medals out of solidarity for those he served with that were lost. From Waterloo to the Somme and Tobruk to El Alamein, the Chestnut Troop found itself in the thick of combat for 150 years. The Royal Horse Artillery Unit traces its origins back to 1793, with its unique name bestowed informally after it was horsed with chestnut horses during the Netherlands campaign of 1799.
Jimmy was previously a member of the Lochgelly Brass Band, and was twice the winner of the Scottish brass band championships, in 1955 and 1958. When asked, on the occasion of his 105th birthday, the secret to his long life, Jimmy responded: “Johnnie Walker Whisky. You need to have a sense of humour and I like to keep upbeat. I just take it a day at a time.”
Rest In Peace Jimmy. UBIQUE