Thursday, 12 November 2009

Honouring Jim

A former soldier who played a vital intelligence gathering role during the Second World War was invited to County Hall this week.

Jim Jarman, who is now in his eighties, helped gather enemy information which was used by Bletchley Park.

The Royal British Legion member was recently awarded a Gold Badge and Certificate by the Prime Minister for his war time service.

The Badge and Certificate have only been given to those who worked at Bletchley Park and its outside field stations during the war.

To honour his achievement the County Council's Chairman, Councillor Anne Hughes invited Jim to a special reception in Haverfordwest on Monday.

"It's because of men and women like Jim that we are here today," said Councilor Hughes. "We owe them a great debt of honour.

"Their heroic role in helping defeat Hitler should never be forgotten and their stories told to inspire younger generations, who have never known such courage and sacrifice."

During the war Jim, who was born and brought up in Pembrokeshire, trained as a Special Operator and joined the newly formed Special Wireless Section A Type Mobile, first in London and then at locations near the south coast.

The unit intercepted German Army messages from Panzar divisions stationed near Paris. After examination by the Intelligence Corps, the messages would be sent every evening by dispatch rider to Bletchely Park, where - unknown to Hitler- they would be decrypted.

The unit kept monitoring the German army throughout D Day even after a German V1 rocket crashed into their camp wounding 17.

Shortly afterwards they joined front line allied forces in France and Belgium as they pushed their way across France and Belgium to Germany.

Later Jim, who lives in Milford Haven, came back to the UK to help intercept Japanese traffic and after VJ day returned to Germany and Austria to gather information on the forces of Russia and Marshall Tito - even though the Cold War had yet to be declared!

Despite the vital nature of their work because Jim and others had signed the Official Secrets Act they were unable to talk about their war work for 30 years and it was only in the late 1970s that the role of Bletchley Park in deciphering German codes such as Enigma was made public.

"It was a hard tedious job but in retrospect a vital one as has now in later years come to light," said Jim. "Due to the boffins of Bletchley Park our armed forces knew everything that the Germans were planning or about to do.

"The 1939/45 war showed this country at its best with backs to the wall. Everyone was involved especially the women of the ATS, who were trained to man fixed intercept companies covering all the high grade German chain of command and whose role is often overlooked.

"Without the supreme effort of everyone we would not have won."

*Councillor Hughes has also written a letter of congratulations to Anne Lewis-Smith from Newport, who has also been honoured by the Prime Minister for her war time work.

The former Wren worked at Bletchley Park between 1944 and 1946.

Photograph: Jim Jarman and Councillor Hughes at the reception.


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