Cover Photo Scottish Veteran

Last Living Desert Rat Passes at 107

  • Joey Upper

Jimmy Sinclair was born in 1912.

At the time, the world population was an estimated 1.8 billion, the first television was 15 years away, and the Titanic made headlines around the world that spring for all the wrong reasons.

A Scot, Sinclair was at the time of his death both the last surviving Desert Rat and the oldest Scotsman alive.

Jimmy Sinclair was raised by his grandparents, as his mother died shortly after his being born. He joined the Territorial Army in 1931, and when the Second World War commenced, he joined the Royal Artillery.

Sinclair served with the Cheshunt Troop of the 1st Regiment Horse Artillery in the 7th Armoured Division, according to War History Online.

His exploits earned him medals for his actions during the siege of Tobruk, the battle of El Alamein, and the battle of Monte Cassino, where he would be wounded. He reportedly refused to wear the medals he won in honor of the soldiers who didn’t make it back.

Those who knew him loved him.

Those who called him “friend” included First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, the heads of multiple charities for Scottish veterans, a duchess, and Manfred Rommel, Erwin Rommel’s son, who he maintained a relationship with all the way until Manfred’s death in 2013.

When asked what the secret to his long life was, he simply replied “Johnny Walker.” He reportedly enjoyed a shot of whiskey every night before bed.

There’s no writing that will do the man justice. We have transitioned all of the survivors of an epic band to history, and while we will never forget the Desert Rats and their diligence and sacrifice, we lost a good man.

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