Glowing tributes have been paid to the incredible veteran and former prisoner of war Jack Ransom who has passed away at the age of 103.

Having survived the horrors of the Burma Railway - melting away to five stone due to starvation and eating charcoal to survive - Jack lived a full life, and has been described as 'an absolute gentleman' and a shining example of his generation.

Jack lived in Largs with his wife Maddie, who he met in the supermarket aisle at the town's Morrisons supermarket, where love blossomed.

They stayed in the McCarthy and Stone housing complex behind Nardini's, and finally managed to celebrate his big birthday on a glorious sunny day in April. 

Previous parties had to be cancelled due to Covid in 2020 and 2021 and then an extended stay in hospital in 2022.

He was so thankful that he was able to celebrate his massive milestone with family and friends at long last and was even singing and dancing on the big day.

Jack was born in Peckham, and is known locally as the 'Scottish Cockney', even penning his own memoirs and publishing them in a book when he was 96.

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He  had become engaged to Helen, who served in the RAF, on his embarkation leave in 1941 and they hadn't seen each other since.

Describes the marvellous moment they were re-united in his memoirs, Jack said: "I turned up in my uniform at King's Cross Station to await Helen's arrival.

"Helen looked absolutely marvellous. We spotted each other simultaneously and with smiles and tears the corporal and the sergeant clung together in what is now known as the 'big clinch'.

Post-war life wasn’t easy as after marrying, Jack became a widower twice before finding love in Largs with Maddie.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Jack and Maddie at Cumbrae CourtJack and Maddie at Cumbrae Court (Image: Newsquest)

At the age of 90, Jack learned how to master the computer to write his own story of his life, and used social media to stay connected.

His hobbies and pastimes include art and even some of his impressive works of art were on display at his 103rd party celebrations at Cumbrae Court.

Incredibly, he recalled  meeting King Charles' great grandmother Queen Mary in 1926 when he was a schoolboy.

Jack, who had to celebrate his 102nd birthday in hospital in April last year, amazed medics by making a miraculous recovery from a broken hip.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Legends together - John Hutchison, pictured bottom right, with Patrick Murphy, Jack Ransom and Millar Patterson of Royal British LegionLegends together - John Hutchison, pictured bottom right, with Patrick Murphy, Jack Ransom and Millar Patterson of Royal British Legion (Image: Newsquest)

Brian Ward, head of events for Royal British Legion Scotland said: "We are very sad to hear of the passing of Jack.  

"On behalf of all members of the Royal British Legion Scotland we would like to pass on our sincere condolences to Jack's wife Maddie and to all of Jack's family and friends.

"The Royal British Legion Scotland will feel the loss of Jack Ransom. He was a stalwart member of our Largs Branch who held the position of president of the branch and did everything he could to help Scotland’s veteran community.  

"He lived life to the full and charmed everyone he met.  Jack had the ability to capture the attention of everyone around him and had such vivid memories of his experiences.

"In 2021 Jack, at the age of 101, was invited to lay a wreath on behalf of all World War 2 Veterans at the National Service of Remembrance in Edinburgh. He carried out this duty flawlessly and we couldn’t have been prouder of him.  

"This year, when we wear our poppy with pride we will have another great man to remember. 

"Jack, we hope you are now at peace with so many of your friends and comrades that didn’t survive their time as Far East prisoners of war."

Former Largs Legion chairman Patrick Murphy said: "Everybody loved Jack - he was a real star.

"He was involved in everything to do with the Royal British Legion in Largs from collections to Remembrance events, he would be there.

"Folk don't realise how brave he was or understand the horrors he went though as it affected him for the rest of the life, but he always had a smile on his face when you met him, and loved a laugh.

"He was brilliant in everything he did."

Cunninghame North MSP Kenneth Gibson said: "Patricia and I were privileged to be invited to Jack’s 103rd birthday party, where he was bright, cheerful and good humoured. Always with a twinkle in his eye.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: MSP Kenneth Gibson, Jack and MP Patricia Gibson. Pic: Kevin McGarryMSP Kenneth Gibson, Jack and MP Patricia Gibson. Pic: Kevin McGarry (Image: Newsquest)
“Jack led a remarkable life with many ups and downs, not least as a prisoner of the Japanese for three long years. He never despaired though, saying that every day he awoke and said ‘it’s beautiful to be alive!’

“First Minister Humza Yousaf had planned to visit Jack later this month.

“Jack Ransom was an extraordinary person. He will be sadly missed.”

North Ayrshire and Arran MP Patricia Gibson, who tabled an early day motion in the House of Commons following Jack's birthday in April, said: "Jack was one in a million and I am very sad he has gone. The word 'hero' is often overused but was never used more properly than in Jack's case.

"He is an example to all of us of a life lived bravely and well.

"As well as praising his remarkable service in our armed forces in the House of Commons, I had been pursuing the Ministry of Defence since April for an honour in recognition of his service.  

"Sadly, Jack will not now see this honour but he remains an inspiration to us all.  I shall miss his cheeky sense of humour and the twinkle in his eye.

"Rest in peace, Jack.”

Eileen Hart, who was Jack's personal carer over recent years at Cumbrae Court, said: "Jack was an amazing man and I’m so humbled and blessed to have spent the last few years with him.  

"I’m missing him dearly and Maddie is too. She is doing OK - because we knew it was coming certainly didn’t make it any easier.   

"He was an amazing man and touched the hearts of a lot of people."

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Eileen said: "Jack was an inspiration with a golden smile that could light up any room.

"He thoroughly enjoyed his birthday party celebration in April, and even gave a speech paying tribute to all the support he has received from Maddie.

"He had an amazing way of turning the smallest incident or bleakest situation into something funny through his experience in the jungle.

"We shall miss him very much."

Thanks to Kevin McGarry for the photos.