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A song from late war veteran Jim, Blackpool Gazette

Jim Baker, war veteran

Footage of a Blackpool war veteran will form part of a drivethrough art exhibition in central London this weekend.

Film-maker Janet Hodgson captured Jim Baker on camera singing World War One tune ‘Hanging on the Old Barbed Wire’ during a trip in one of the capital’s famous black cabs in 2012. Now the five minute clip of Jim, who died in April this year aged 93, will feature in Drive Thru, a multi-media exhibition being staged in a car park in Cavendish Square in London.

Janet filmed Jim during one of his many trips with the London Taxi Benevolent Association for the War Disabled, a charity which takes war veterans to former battlefields and memorials on the continent as well as on journeys in the UK.

She said: “I work very closely with the charity and went on a couple of trips to the Netherlands when I became friendly with Jim.

“I became interested in the songs the veterans would sing when they were together and I tried to encourage them to sing in public and at events.“

Jim was such an incredible character.

“I came to Blackpool in a black cab and took him to Liverpool to see Al Murray, the Pub Landlord, and I filmed him in the cab singing this song. “

Jim chose to sing 'Hanging on the Old Barbed Wire' as a tribute to his uncles who were killed in the First World War, or ‘those brave, unflinching men’ as he said.”

Drive Thru brings together more than 65 artists in an exhibition at the lowest level of the QPark underground car park in Cavendish Square.

The work exhibited encompasses sculptures, photographs, film, painting, and live performances.

As well as being able to be viewed by foot, there will also be periods set aside for vehicles to drive through the exhibition.

It starts Wednesday and runs until Sunday, with Jim’s film due to be shown on Saturday.

Jim was a D-Day veteran and one of Blackpool’s most highly decorated war heroes.

The ex-Royal Marine took part in the first wave of landings in Normandy in 1944 when his small assault boat was the only survivor out of a flotilla of 24.

Despite being badly injured by a mortar explosion, he went on to do 22 more landings.

During his later years he led many of the commemorations in Blackpool and was a firm fixture at the annual Remembrance Day service at the town’s war memorial.

He regularly returned to Normandy to mark the anniversary of the D-Day landings including the 70th anniversary commemorations in 2014.

Janet added: “Jim was quite well known by the London Taxi charity and whenever he went on any trips he would cause complete havoc.“

He was always great to have around.”

Jim Baker, war veteran

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