University of Leicester social scientist joins crew of Tall Ship for D-Day landing commemoration

Posted by ap507 at May 26, 2015 03:50 PM |
University tutor and member of Royal British Legion joins Jubilee Sailing Trust’s historic voyage from 2-12 June

Issued by the University of Leicester Press Office 26 May 2015

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A University of Leicester academic and member of The Royal British Legion is setting sail to retrace the routes taken by the ships and landing craft on D-Day 6 June 1944 to the Normandy beaches.

Dr Jim McDermott, an Associate Tutor with the School of Management, was born during the Second World War and he saw 25 years’ service in the Army.

Dr McDermott, from Whitwick in Leicestershire, actually celebrates his birthday on D-Day – he will be 72 years old when he stands on the Normandy beach.

He said: “The Jubilee Sailing Trust is organising a voyage in one of its Tall Ships – SV Tenacious -  from 2 to 12 June to the Normandy beaches.  The ship will also sail up the Caen Canal and visit Cherbourg.

“The Royal British Legion was offered two places and to my absolute delight I was allocated a place as a crew member. I am extremely grateful to the Jubilee Sailing Trust for this fantastic opportunity to take part in commemorating a truly historic event.

“Visiting the Normandy beaches and getting on board a Tall Ship are two of many items on my list of things to do.  Having already trekked to Everest Base Camp and to Machu Picchu and floated in the Dead Sea this once in a lifetime opportunity is one not to be missed.  It means I can achieve two ambitions in a very exciting and interesting way and have a tale to tell at the end of the voyage.

“I was a one-year-old and living in Great Yarmouth on D-Day in 1944 and probably my earliest memory is hearing the planes droning overhead all through the night, flying from bases in East Anglia, as the allies headed for the beaches.”

The Sailing Vessel (SV) Tenacious was purpose-designed to enable able-bodied and disabled people to work together side-by-side. There are no passengers and no restrictions. Everyone gets involved in all aspects of life on board regardless of age, background, ability, or experience level.

Dr McDermott added: “I believe many of the crew members will be from a range of armed forces charities and a large proportion of the crew will have some form of disability; able-bodied crew will buddy up and work together with those less able, so for me this is also an opportunity to help those who have suffered as a result of more recent conflicts.

“My academic interest is armed forces veterans and a great many veterans have contributed to my research; being part of this crew will be an opportunity for me to give something back. I hope to further confirm my belief that most armed forces veterans, including those who have suffered battle injuries can still be adventurous and lead interesting and rewarding lives.

“There will be an historian on board so I also hope to learn a lot more about this important part of the history of World War Two. I lost an uncle right at the end of the war and although he died in the Far East, I will also be remembering his sacrifice.”

More information on the Jubilee Sailing Trust here:


Notes to editors:

Contact/Press Info

To interview Dr McDermott:
t: 01530 811578
m: 07766 402384


alt e:


Media enquirers to SJ Dowman on


The organisers are:

Jubilee Sailing Trust, 12 Hazel Road, Southampton, SO19 7GA

Tel: 023 8044 9138 | Fax: 023 8044 9145


JST brochure including this voyage available at:

The Royal British Legion’s work is encapsulated within its ethos: Live On – To the memory of the fallen and the future of the living. The Legion is the nation's biggest Armed Forces charity providing care and support to all members of the British Armed Forces past and present and their families. It is the national custodian of Remembrance and safeguards the Military Covenant between the nation and its Armed Forces. It is well known for the annual Poppy Appeal, and its emblem the red poppy.

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