Glasgow D-Day veteran is guest of honour at Gartnavel Hospital to mark 80th anniversary

Jimmy with activities co-ordinator Karen McGaron and volunteer Pat McCamley
-Credit: (Image: NHSGGC)


A Glasgow D-Day veteran was a guest of honour at the city's Gartnavel Hospital, marking the 80th anniversary.

Staff, patients and families were in the company of one of the men who took part in the largest seaborne invasion in history, 98-year-old Jimmy Docherty.

Jimmy from Dalmarnock was a Royal Navy sailor serving on one of the boats on June 6, 1944, landing troops on Gold Beach in 1944, having already served on the Arctic Convoys.

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Jimmy said: “I still remember what happened that day…but I was a much younger man then."

Jimmy with family friends Thomas Doherty and James McMillan, his son Joe and nephew John Creegan
Jimmy with family friends Thomas Doherty and James McMillan, his son Joe and nephew John Creegan -Credit:NHSGGC

He had intended to follow his father and brother into the army – but was surprised to find himself sent to the navy.

“I was told to report to HMS Ganges, which sounded like a boat,” added Jimmy.

HMS Ganges was originally a boat, but by World War Two was a naval shore base, which had a “Hostilities Only New Entry Training” for recruits such as Jimmy.

He laughed: “Three weeks after I enlisted I was at NHS Ganges, and at first I had to tell them that I couldn’t swim. They said: ‘We never asked if you could’.

“It’s great that so many people have come along. This is a very nice company to spend today in.”

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Patients and staff at Gartnavel’s Ward 6A were treated to a medley of songs of the era, by Pat McCamley, a regular volunteer on the ward, who added in a request from Jimmy himself for Ae Fond Kiss.

Jimmy’s son Joe said: “This is a great way to mark this anniversary. My dad and I have been over to Flanders to trace his uncles who fell in World War One, and we intend to travel to Normandy next year.”

Activities co-ordinator Karen McGaron was one of the organisers of the event.

She said: “It’s been great to have this event, a way for people to remember this day. And having Jimmy here is a privilege. He’s a very popular man on the ward and it’s wonderful to have him here.”

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