'Never a conformist' - Final respects paid to D-Day hero at Caister church

Images of Jim and his funeral.

Horace James Minister: March 10, 1925 - December 25, 2021. - Credit: Archant

Final respects were paid at a Caister church to one of Britain's last surviving D-Day veterans.

The service for Horace James Minister, also known as Jim, took place at Holy Trinity Church at 2pm on Friday, January 28.

Mr Minister was an Able Seaman in the Royal Navy - after being inspired to volunteer by watching the film In Which We Serve at the cinema in Battersea, where he was born - and served on Operation Overlord, where he transported tanks and troops to three assault beaches Juno, Sword, and Gold.

One of Britain's last D-Day veterans died on Christmas Day 2021

D-Day veteran Horace James Minister, known as Jim, as an 18-year-old in the Royal Navy in 1943, - Credit: supplied by Jim McLaurin

Mr Minister died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Scratby on December 25.

He was 96-years-old.

At the service, dozens of his friends and family paid their final respects to the man who was deemed "too modest" for his services during the war and his time with the fire service in both Cambridge and Great Yarmouth.

Mr Minister's coffin was draped with the Naval Royal Standard flag and his medals and fireman's hat lay on top.

Jim McLaurin paid tribute to his friend, and said: "Looking down on us, Jim would be wondering what all the fuss was about."

Fire fighters and naval officers outside a church.

Last respects: Members of the fire brigade and the Royal Naval were present as Mr Minister's coffin was brought into the church. - Credit: James Weeds

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Tales were shared from Mr Minister's life, including his much-loved bread and butter pudding and hot chocolates - which contained more rum than milk - as well as his haphazard attempts of building fires at home.

One story, which brought a smile to the faces of those in attendance, was the time he donated gifts to children in Great Yarmouth after retrieving sweets, with the owner's permission, from a recently extinguished fire at Docwra's Rock Factory.

Mr Minister's coffin was draped with the Naval Royal Standard.

Mr Minister's coffin was draped with the Naval Royal Standard. - Credit: James Weeds

In later years, Mr Minister took to painting, enrolling at Stokesby Art School.

However, while most of the other students painted still life and tranquil scenes from nature, Mr Minister was known for his dramatic recounts of his experiences of war at sea.

"Never a conformist, our Jim," said Mr McLaurin.

The coffin of Mr Minister.

Dozens of Mr Minister's friends, family and fellow servicemen paid their final respects at his funeral on Friday. - Credit: James Weeds

Music at the service included classical compositions Nimrod by Elgar and Largo from Symphony No. 9 by Dvorak.

Hymns Eternal Father, Strong to Save and I Vow to Thee, My Country were sung and John 14: 1 - 6, 27 was read.

Mr Minister had two children, Aly (known as Minta) and Robert, who died in his 40s.