‘Duty done Jim’ – Locals mourn the loss of the last of Malta’s Operation Pedestal veterans
Jim Bates was one of the 23,000 men who said in Pedestal.
Locals are mourning the loss of the last of the ex-Operation Pedestal veterans, Jim Bates. Simon Cusens, a member of The Malta George Cross Movement Facebook group, shared the news along with some information about this unsung hero.
“We mourn the passing of the last of our ex- Operation Pedestal veterans whom we were still in contact with; Jim Bates RN ex-HMS Wilton, just short of his 100th birthday. We hear of only one other survivor from the 23,000 men who sailed in Pedestal, John Galt RN, who is close to 100 years of age himself but not in direct contact with us.”
Simon Cusens via The Malta George Cross Movement / Facebook
“Jim Bates visited Malta a few times since the 60th Anniversary Reunion of 2002 and was as proud to have assisted the besieged wartime Islanders in 1942 as we were to get to know him in his later years. He is seen in the photo below wearing his Arctic Convoys beret. Arctic convoy missions to Murmansk in Russia, were probably the most brutal of convoys due to extreme cold. A man in the water there lasted less than 3 minutes and working the ships whilst caked in ice was a surreal ordeal.”
“It will be our privilege to assist the family with the scattering of Jim's ashes in Grand Harbour later this year. We wish Jim well on his most important voyage yet in the Grand Convoy of the sky. Our condolences to his son Paul and to all the Bates family. Duty done, Jim. Farewell. He lived respected and died regretted. Rest in Peace,” the message read.
Our heartfelt condolences to Jim’s family. We salute you.