WWII veteran Roy Smith’s renewed passport was collected just in time for him to travel to the Netherlands for Dutch Liberation
It was touch and go whether WWII veteran, Roy Smith, from Sittingbourne would be able to travel to the Netherlands with the Taxi Charity when his passport renewal got held up at the passport office. His granddaughter, who applied online for Roy, inadvertently put his date of birth as 2025 instead of 1925 meaning the renewal application was for someone who hadn’t yet been born.
Dick Goodwin, Taxi Charity honorary secretary, worked closely with the family to try to get the passport issue resolved and then drove to Peterborough in the late afternoon to collect the passport before heading to Harwich where he met Roy and the rest of the veterans and volunteer cab drivers for the overnight Stena line crossing to the Hook Of Holland.
The Taxi Charity was travelling to Wageningen with a group including 16 WWII veterans to participate in the Dutch Liberation parade on 5 May and Roy was desperate to make the trip with his daughter and son-in-law. During the war, Roy served with the 4th Dorset’s and was in the Netherlands working with Canadian engineers to get the Airborne out.
Every year, thousands of men, women and children line the streets of the small Dutch town to thank their liberators, and since 2012, the Taxi Charity has been bringing veterans in their iconic black taxis to lead the parade.
Dick said: "It was absolute relief when I arrived at the passport office and was able to collect Roy’s passport. This trip is incredibly important for our veterans and the Dutch people, and we would have been devastated if Roy had not been able to travel with us. Our veterans have often been heard to say ‘No one asked me for my passport in 1944’.”
Dick actually drove to the passport office twice. Originally the passport clerk he was liaising with told him to collect the passport on the Monday - but it was a bank holiday and they were closed, so Dick had to make the journey from Ware to Peterborough again on the Tuesday.