War veteran and lifeboat mechanic dies

Jack Payne sat in the centre of the lifeboat.

Jack Payne sat in the centre of the lifeboat. - Credit: Sub

A WORLD War two veteran and RNLI mechanic died three months short of his 100th birthday.

Captain Jack Payne served his country on merchant ships during the war before running boat trips from Anchor Head in Weston.

During the conflict, he sailed cargo ships full of ammunition from Singapore through water full of German U boats.

The route took him near Cape Horn, near Chile, as a shorter route through the Suez Canal in Egypt was too dangerous.

On one night off the North African coast, one of the ships was hit and went up in an explosion.

Jack was quoted to have said to the man beside him: “That will be us if we get hit.”

After the war, he ran boat trips on the Catherine Jane and joined the RNLI on Birnbeck Island.

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He was involved in a number of rescues, including saving the lives of seven men on a drilling tower off Hinkley Point in 1957.

From 1972-77 delivered supplies by boat to Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel.

He gained a reputation for ensuring he delivered supplies in every weather, and was given the nickname Hurricane Jack.

He had one son, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.