Jimmy was born in Ulverston, Lancashire, in 1924. He moved to Borehamwood when he was a teenager, as his father, Richard Dawes, was a builder and came to build houses in the expansion of North London. His mother, Emily, found work at Elstree Studios, as an extra in crowd scenes. The various film studios were a significant opportunity for employment in Borehamwood.
However, at the age of 20, Jimmy enlisted in the Navy and played a part in delivering troops onto the beaches during the D - Day Landings in 1944. After the War, he met Brenda Chapman, an Army Corporal, at a dance in The Red Lion and they were married in 1948. They went on to have five children and Jimmy took on a labouring job at MGM Studios, in order to support a growing family.
He was soon recognised as someone with skill and enthusiasm and progressed as a Grip; building a good reputation, meaning he was often first on the requirements from the Director / Cameraman to work on the next film. (refer: "Getting to Grips" page 31).
He has worked on many notable films, such as:
The Elephant Man Sea Wife The French Lieutenants Woman Doctor Zhivago Where Eagles Dare Laurence of Arabia Ryans Daughter Jimmy was a popular Grip and was always keen to pass on his skills and knowledge to the next generation.
Grips Branch Chairman: 1985 - 1992