John Vickerson, one of the oldest veterans of the Falklands War, passed away last month aged 95. He served a note-worthy 46 years in the armed forces at sea, on land, and in the air.
During the 1982 conflict, he served with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) at age 61, one of the oldest men serving at that time.
He was aboard the RFA Tidepool when it was attacked twice as part of the fleet supplying the Royal Navy and Army.
His friend, Captain Pat Thompson, who served with and has known Vickerson since 1977, said he was a very easy-going and pleasant man without a trace of malice. He was, without a doubt, the eldest Falklands veteran in Leicestershire and probably the oldest man to receive the South Atlantic Medal.
Born in Hartlepool in 1921, Vickerson had a distinguished career in the Royal Navy during WWII. He was presented with five medals during the war, including the Atlantic Star, for having survived five ships that sunk.
He was drafted in 1939 after the war began and served with an anti-aircraft gun unit until his papers arrived for him to join the Navy – much to the chagrin of his Army superiors. His first assignment was in a Swordfish biplane as a tail gunner prior to flying, and crashing, an Avenger.
A broken wrist prevented him from participating in D-Day. Then it was off to the Pacific to do battle with the Japanese. In 1949, he joined the Australian Royal Navy, piloting observation aircraft during nuclear testing. From 1955 he served in Malaya with the Royal Fleet Air Arm during the confrontation. He retired in 1984 after having been with the Merchant Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary since 1967.
Peggy, his wife, passed away in 2007.
Vickerson lived in Beaumont Leys, Leicester. He is survived by two children, Janet and Alan, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, Leicester Mercury reported.
His daughter paid tribute to her father, saying he was wonderful in all three roles as a dad, grandad and great-grandad. He loved working at sea and was always very good fun to be with.