Mr Douglas Francis Jakeman
17 February 1918 - 13 July 2018
In loving memory of Douglas
Resident of The Royal Star & Garter Homes
Douglas Jakeman was born in West Kensington, London, on 17 February 1918, the sixth of nine children. He worked as a cinema page boy and a Lyons Corner House kitchen boy before joining Aero Pipe & Glass Co Ltd as a labourer.
On the outbreak of war in 1939 Douglas was called up and joined the 9th (Second City of London) Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, as he felt it was his duty to protect his family and friends. He saw active service in the Middle East, the African campaign against Rommel, and in Italy.
By 1942 Douglas had reached the rank of Corporal and qualified as a mortar gunner and a driver of 15-hundredweight small lorries. As range finder he was in charge of three men, including a tank driver and a gunner. They were captured at Salerno, Italy in 1943 and were incarcerated at Stalag VIIIB344 in Poland. He said “When we were caught, as an NCO I wasn’t allowed to be (imprisoned) with them. I saw my three friends go away. I never saw them again.”
Douglas was a prisoner of war from 11 September 1943 to 25 April 1945. When he was liberated he tried to find his friends but could not. He said he couldn’t have had three better men.
After the war Douglas married his long-term sweetheart, Luana on 4 August 1945. He returned to work at Aero-Pipe and Glass (Sadia), training as a coppersmith and engineer. He and Luana went on to have three daughters, Susan, Brenda and Linda, whom he referred to as his ‘darlings’, eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Douglas lived with dementia at The Royal Star & Garter Homes from 2014 until his death, aged 100, where he received the specialist care he needed to enjoy life to the full.
In February 2018 staff at the Home ensured he celebrated his 100th birthday in style with a party full of friends and family. Douglas was the life and soul of the party, dancing with his daughters and making sure everyone was having a great time.
Always positive, Douglas loved musical activities and danced his way into the affections of everyone at the Home. During his time with The Royal Star & Garter Homes, Douglas generously allowed the Charity to share his story with supporters, helping to raise vital funds for his fellow veterans. He will be fondly remembered and much missed by his loving family and friends, and everyone at The Royal Star & Garter Homes.