ONE of Thurrock’s Second World War heroes, who helped campaign for a memorial for his fallen colleagues, has died aged 93.
Jim McGillivray, formerly of South Road, South Ockendon, was a familiar face in the town, particularly in recent years before he had to enter a care home.
His death came in the same week as the funeral service for his friend Harry Irons, from Romford, who flew 60 missions as a rear gunner was held at Upminster.
The two were among those at the forefront of a long and eventually successful campaign for a memorial to Bomber Command.
Jim was also operational in the war, flying on Lancasters and he used to share his stories with visitors and school parties at South Ockendon Centre where he passed many hours reminiscing.
Centre manager Wendy Curtis said: “Jim’s passing is a huge loss to the South Ockendon Community. He was unique, a man who gave great service to his country and also a man with a great sense of humour. I still have a copy of his ‘business card’ which never fails to make me smile.
“He kept us all entertained with his stories about life. He was a real character.”
Another Lancaster veteran, Jim Gooding from Grays, president of Thurrock branch of the RAF Association, who flew in the war as a rear-gunner, said: “Another great friend has now passed. There are few and fewer of us left but we are all linked by the great sense of service and pride in our country.”
Thurrock Independent editor Neil Speight said: “I had the absolute honour and privilege of sitting and talking to Jim McGillivray several times. He was an indefatigable character, a true hero in every sense of the word and a man of real calibre, the like of whom are few and far between.”
Details of the funeral service for Mr McGillivray will be shared here when known.