A World War Two veteran and Auschwitz survivor has been denied the chance to continue driving his car due to high insurance premiums.
At the age of 98, Ron Jones, has been driving for almost 70 years, but this year he will come to a standstill as his car insurance offered him a quote for £20,000.
Ron started driving in 1946 just after the war had ended. Prior to his retirement, his car insurance averaged at around two to three hundred pounds every year, and after he had become a pensioner, it increased to around £3,000 a year.
One of the main reasons Ron continues to drive is so that he can sell poppies to the general public around Remembrance Sunday. However, if he doesn’t have his car he can’t get around to sell them.
Ron claims that he is being discriminated because of his age and says that he hasn’t had any accidents in the last year and is physically and mentally fit. He cannot understand why the premium has risen to such a high price.
Ron has been selling poppies for Remembrance Sunday for the Royal British Legion for over a quarter of a century and also gives talks at schools so that children can learn about what happened during the war. Now Ron believes he won’t be able to do either if he is not allowed to drive.
Ron comes from Bassaleg in Newport, Wales. During the war he was taken to the Nazis’ Auschwitz concentration camp after he was captured by the Germans in Benzaghi, Libya, North Africa and became a prisoner of war.
Ron was held along with other prisoners of war in a part of the camp called EP715. This was separate from the Jewish inmates and the Nazi killing machine in the main camp. They had slightly better living conditions and food than the Jews.
The POWs were employed at forced labor camps during the week. On their rest day, they were allowed to play football with armed German guards watching from the sidelines. Ron was the goalkeeper for the Welsh team.
“When you’re under those conditions it was a real pleasure to play football on a Sunday,” he said. “But we could only play in the summer, of course, because in the winter it was deep with snow.”
Playing football was a sort of a breather for most of the prisoners. However, facing reality, fear was still in their minds. During in their football matches, smoke would come out from the chimneys, an ominous sign to the unfortunate ones.
“The first thing you’d notice was the smell,” said Ron. “If the wind was in your direction the smell was terrible.”
His struggles in the Nazi death camp and the death march is written in the book entitled, “The Auschwitz Goalkeeper” which was published in 2013.
Charities for the elderly have claimed that Ron’s insurance renewal is astounding, particularly since the jump from £3,000 to £20,000 is so high within just one year.
When asked for comment the insurance company, it said that the quote was issued in error, but that Ron was no longer eligible for their insurance products. They are conducting an internal investigation into the matter.