Clarence ‘Jim’ Dyer was one of the nation’s last surviving D-Day veterans, a journey that had led him from rural Warwickshire to the newly-liberated beaches of Normandy.

Serving as a baker during World War Two, Jim landed near the fishing village of Arromanches-les-Bains, on the western end of a pivotal area designated Gold Beach by the Allies.

He used the trade he had learnt after leaving school to support the supply chain as the troops seized the village and ultimately wrested Europe from the Nazis, and was serving with the Army Catering Corps in liberated France when celebrations broke out on VE Day.

The village where he was stationed at the time had a big barn dance after silence and then cheers greeted the formal end of hostilities on May 8, 1945.

Jim, who passed away peacefully in his sleep on Wednesday morning (August 26), remained humble about his logistical role with the Corps, who are credited with playing a major part in maintaining troop morale during the war.

Nevertheless, he was honoured as the 75th anniversary of VE Day was marked this year.



Gold Beach, near Asnelles in Normandy, where British troops landed on D-Day. Photo taken with a drone on May 29, 2019.

He joined the ‘Nation’s Toast’ on Zoom after the gesture to honour military personnel past and present was moved online due to lockdown restrictions.

Speaking to a councillor before the ceremony, Jim said that he simply considered himself a “civilian in uniform” who had not fought at the front.

The great-grandfather also took part in a tea party at Four Acres Care Home in Studley, Warwickshire, the county where he had grown up.

An only child from Studley, he had left school to work at a bake house in Alcester.

Jim married Evelyn Barnett at Holy Trinity Church in Arrow on November 11, 1939, three months after the war broke out, and their union was interrupted as he answered the call of duty. After the war, he settled back in Studley with Evelyn, who passed away in 1959.

Ever the baker, he continued making treats including mince pies and cakes for his grandchildren as they grew up.

He kept fit through cycling, sometimes clocking up 100 miles a day with his club, and always kept his mind sharp, at one stage working as a Sunday school teacher.



Clarence ‘Jim’ Dyer took part in the D-Day landings in Normandy, France (file image)

The great-grandfather was a member of Studley Parish church, whose vicar, Kate Mier, also joined in the VE Day Zoom conversation reading a prayer giving thanks for the “valour and bravery” of those who served to bring peace to the world.

An avid reader, he would spend hours in his room reading books and newspapers, especially the Guardian, and completing word searches. The centenarian devoured the latest news, whether it be international affairs or his great grandchildren’s achievements.

Despite not having visited Jim in person since March because of coronavirus restrictions, his granddaughter, Kay Westmore, also from Studley, ensured he had a regular supply of newspapers and family news at his fingertips.

Kay, who found it tremendously difficult not being able to see him, would write a letter to the “amazing man”, keeping him up to date with goings-on in their lives.

Jim celebrated his 103rd birthday on Father’s Day (June 21) with a celebration at the care home and watched his great granddaughter, Zoe Westmore, 12, play happy birthday on her keyboard in a recording relayed by staff.

He leaves behind one surviving child, Margaret Chatwin, after his son Ken Dyer, Kay’s father, passed away two years ago.

Jim is also survived by three other grandchildren, Ian Dyer and Paul and Craig Chatwin.

The generations are completed by his eight great-grandchildren, including Kay’s five children. 





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