WWII Veteran Roy Smith’s passport renewal was collected just in time for him to travel to the Netherlands for Dutch Liberation.
It was touch and go whether WWII Veteran Roy Smith from Sittingbourne would be able to travel to the Netherlands with the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans when his passport renewal got held up at the passport office. His granddaughter, who applied online for Roy, inadvertently put his date of birth as 2025 instead of 1925 meaning the renewal application was for someone who hadn’t yet been born.
Dick Goodwin, a Taxi Charity volunteer worked closely with the family to try and get the passport and then drove to Peterborough in the late afternoon to collect the passport before heading to Harwich where he met Roy and the rest of the veterans and volunteer cab drivers for the overnight Stena line crossing to the Hook Of Holland.
The Taxi Charity was travelling to Wageningen with a group including 16 WWII veterans to participate in the Dutch Liberation parade on 5 May and Roy was desperate to make the trip with his daughter and son in law. During the war Roy served with the 4th Dorset’s and was in the Netherlands working with Canadian engineers to get the Airborne out.
Every year thousands of men, women and children line the streets of the small Dutch town to thank their liberators and since 2012 The Taxi Charity has been bringing veterans in their iconic black taxis to lead the parade.
Dick Goodwin, Secretary of the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans said, “It was absolute relief when I arrived at the passport office and was able to collect Roy’s passport. This trip is incredibly important for our veterans and the Dutch people and we would have been devastated if Roy had not been able to travel with us. Our veterans have often been heard to say ‘No one asked me for my passport in 1944’.”
To find out more about the support the Taxi Charity offers to veterans or to donate visit www.taxicharity.org
Notes to Editors
Volunteer Dick Goodwin drove to the passport office twice. Originally the passport clerk he was liaising with told him to collect the passport on the Monday – it was a Bank Holiday and they were closed so Dick had to make the journey from Ware again on the Tuesday .
About the Dutch Liberation Parade
During the evening of 4 May the Dutch commemorate the deaths of all their civilians and members of the armed forced who have died in service to their country since WWII. On 5 May the Dutch celebrate Liberation Day. In 1945 this day officially marked the ending of WWII in the Netherlands. There are ceremonies and festivities all over the Netherlands during these two days, but the commemorations and festivities in Wageningen stand out because the German general Blaskowitz and the Canadian general Charles Foulkes negotiated the German terms of surrender in Hotel de Wereld, ending the Second World War in the Netherlands.
About the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans
The Taxi Charity is run by volunteer London black taxi drivers and has been supporting thousands of veterans since 1948. It is the only Forces charity that focuses on providing fun and entertainment and arranges free trips (for veterans from all conflicts) to the Netherlands and France, for acts of commemoration and days out to museums, concerts, or social events across the UK.
2023 is the charity’s 75th anniversary, a remarkable milestone for a small, niche charity peopled by enthusiastic volunteers.
The charity received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2021, an award approved by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the equivalent of the MBE for charities.
To fund and facilitate their work, the charity is reliant on donations, grants and sponsorship and launched a ‘75 for 75’ fundraising campaign to raise £75,000 in its anniversary year.