War hero forced out of home by HS2 demolition work dies at 93
Campaigner Stan Passmore had left due to high-speed rail project just a few months earlier
09 January, 2020 — By Tom Foot
Stan Passmore: ‘He always looked immaculate’
A NAVY veteran and prominent anti-HS2 campaigner has died, aged 93, just a few months after being forced to leave his home.
Stan Passmore moved out of his fourth-floor flat in Eskdale, Regent’s Park estate, last year because of the Euston railway demolition works.
The former Royal Navy radar officer, who moved into the estate in 1961, had risked his life in one of the most dangerous operations of the Second World War.
He served on the HMS Cassandra in the Arctic Convoys, coming under frequent attack as it navigated a gruelling icy route – dubbed “the worst journey in the world” by Prime Minister Winston Churchill – delivering vital supplies to the Russians.
Mr Passmore and his comrades dodged attack after attack, with the ship was eventually hit by a torpedo in which 66 crew members died. During the war, his family were bombed out of their home in Somers Town, before moving to Kenton Street, Bloomsbury, which they were evicted from as the street was cleared to make room for what is now the Brunswick Centre.
They were offered compensation of £50 per room, Mr Passmore told the New Journal in 2012.
After his mother was diagnosed with TB, Mr Passmore found a family on the newly-built Regent’s Park estate who were willing to swap. It was 1961 and he had lived in the flat ever since.
“The place was full of people who worked locally – postmen, railway workers,” he told the New Journal. “It was a community and felt like a village.”
In 2012, Mr Passmore narrated a film about the impact of HS2 on the Regent’s Park estate residents created by one of his neighbours, Jane Gull. In it, he warned how HS2 bosses “saw residents affected by the project as “no more than something on a map”.
Ms Gull said: “Stan was for a long time really the go-to person, the spokesperson, against HS2. He looked very good for his age. He always looked immaculate. Always looked smart. I’m really upset about this because I used to see Stan nearly every day. We lived on the same floor and had little get-togethers. In November, when I went down to Camden, I literally saw the machines going through Stan’s property. It was heartbreaking. I feel for the people left behind. Huge rats, noise – it goes on and on and on.”
The other two Eskdale residents who featured in the film, Iris Ellis and former PoW George Phillips, died with the project works hanging over their heads.
Ms Gull said: “When I lived in Eskdale, I remember [former MP] Frank Dobson – God love him – he came knocking on everyone’s door to tell us about HS2. “He wanted everyone to know and he said we were going to fight it. “I remember Iris couldn’t get to those public meetings. She felt frustrated no one was listening to her, so I said, ‘I can film you speaking’. Stan was really up for it. He had a lot to say about it.”