RIP James Thomas Martin (RGS 1938-44)
Born in Reigate in 1927, Jim had a happy childhood growing up with his older sister, Margaret and their parents, James and Florence. He attended the local village infant and primary schools, then went to Reigate Grammar School from 1938 to 1944. During this time he joined the Army Cadet Force when he was 12 and became the bass drummer with rank of Staff Sergeant.
After a war office selection course he joined the army in September 1944 and at 17 years old was sent on a course to Exeter University — a two year course that was compressed into 6 months! His training continued at the Officer Cadet Training Unit at Wrotham in the Royal Signals Regiment and he was then chosen to go to Mhow in India — what an incredible experience for a young man starting out in life! At the age of 19, Jim found himself serving as Motor Transport Officer at the Deccan Area HQ as part of the Indian Signals Regiment. After Partitian, he was posted to Singapore at GHQ Far East Asia Command. Eventually, in June 1948 he was discharged from the army, aged 21.
Jim’s father was unwell at this time, so Jim came to Seasalter to help him run the Blue Anchor Public House, it was from here that he noticed a gap in the market and formed Coast and Country Caravans with his business partner, beginning with a plot of land on the Isle of Sheppey, leading to the development of several other caravan sites. Jim also started to follow in his Father’s footsteps in being initiated into Reigate Priory Lodge in 1951 at the age of 23. This was the start of a long and very distinguished Masonic career, in which he received several promotions and appointments.
Apart from his on-going work at his lodges, Jim was able to enjoy his passion for sailing. He had ten years of loving it, taking their motor sailor all around the Dutch canals and along the French Coast. At 70, when his balance started to go, he decided to stop, having created many happy memories for himself and Dorothy.
Happily, Jim and Dorothy were blessed with two healthy children, Roger and Alison and Jim was delighted to become a Grandfather to Oliver, Jolie, Max and Thomas. He was very proud of his family and looked forward to their visits towards the end when his health began to fail.