Colchester: Tributes paid to veteran of Monty’s desert rats

Jim Fraser meets the Duchess of Cornwall in 2010.

Jim Fraser meets the Duchess of Cornwall in 2010.

Jim Fraser, who was a well-known figure in Colchester, passed away last week at the age of 92. And according to his long-time friend, Don Quinn, Mr Fraser crammed a great deal into his long life.

Mr Quinn said: “He was a war hero and regimental sergeant major in the Army. When he left the service he became a postman and rose to be president of the Postal Workers Union, as well as becoming a borough councillor and magistrate – that’s quite a lot for one man.”

Originally from Glasgow, Mr Fraser moved to Colchester with his family when he was 12. He attended the now closed Bluecoat School before joining the Army. He spent 22 years in the military, serving in Korea and in India as independence approached. But he is best-known for being the driver of Field Marshall Montgomery’s tank in North Africa during the Second World War. One story that is told is that Mr Fraser often lent ‘Monty’ his beret because the general’s bush hat kept blowing off every time he poked his head up out of the tank.

Mr Quinn added: “As a councillor his wit was ferocious. He put fear into the Conservative opposition and always got the last word in. He worked hard for the people of Berechurch, who he represented.”

Granddaughter Claire Morrison desribed Mr Fraser as an “unbelieveably strong-minded and positive person”.

She added: “We used to say ‘There wasn’t a battle he didn’t win,’ but unfortunately that’s not true this time round. He was an amazing and brave man and all the family members will miss him dearly.”

Mr Fraser’s funeral takes place on Friday, April 5, at 10.30am at Colchester Crematorium where Korean veterans are expected to form a guard of honour.