James Harley (Jim) Wallwork October 21,1919 January 24, 2013 Last Cast-off
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Jim glided peacefully on the last cast-off of his 93 years, January 24th 2013, White Rock, B.C.
Predeceased by his young son Howard, Jim is survived by his soul mate Genevieve, daughters Sylvia (David) and Helen (Lynn), step-daughter Lisa (Jacques) and step-son Kirk, five grandchildren, and six great grandchildren. He was loved by all of us. We were all secretly his "favorite".
Jim was known to most of the world as the first allied soldier to touch down on French soil in advance of the invasion on D-Day. As Staff Sergeant Jim Wallwork, recipient of the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM), Jim was a member of the British Airborne Forces Glider Pilot Regiment, achieving fame as pilot of the first Horsa glider to land at Pegasus Bridge in the early hours of D-Day, June 6, 1944. That mission, called Operation Deadstick, was described as "the greatest feat of flying of the second world war", by Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory. Celebrated and commemorated in many films, books, articles and even on a British stamp, Jim remained forever humble about his feats.
After the war, he moved to Canada with his young family, and lived in Port Moody, B.C. He had a successful career at Wheels and Equipment where he was the VP of Sales. He retired at 55 and bought a hobby farm with his wife Genevieve. For seven years he was known affectionately as Farmer Jim to the many children who would visit him for school field trips. He retired from the farm to live in White Rock and Ladner.
He was a wonderful father and friend, a true gentleman and a model of a man. Ever curious about life, nature, music and the English language he also had a strong sense of doing the right thing. Everywhere he went, he left a trail of people smiling. He was sometimes cheeky, mostly charming and always respectful, keeping his sense of humour and dignity right to the end.
In Operation Deadstick, the code words to be reported back to HQ for a successful mission were "Ham and Jam." By God, Jim, we say to you, Ham and Jam, Ham and Jam.
He would like us all to "crack on" now and do right by each other. His daughter Helen would often say to him "Thanks for winning the war, Dad." It would leave him smiling. And it is thus we will always remember him.
The family would like to thank the staff at Peace Arch Hospital and in particular Dr. Charles King
Donations would be appreciated and can be made to the Canadian cancer society in Howard's name.
A private memorial will be held at a later date.
Published in Vancouver Sun and/or The Province on Jan. 26, 2013