Jim Cooke, the Queen and Michael Caine
THERE are definite echoes of Michael Caine when listening to Jim Cooke speak and, in fact, the two were born in south London in the same year, 1933.
Both were also evacuated from London as children during the Second World War.
Thankfully, Jim's experience was much better than that of the famed actor, who has said he never trusted anyone again after being locked in a cupboard for the weekend by the couple with whom he was billeted, while they went away.
For Jim, who was seven at the time of the evacuation, his years on a farm are a happy memory, despite the fact he and his brother spent three years sleeping head to toe on a couch as their bed, due to lack of space in their host home.
No-one else had been willing to take on two boys together.
Many others, like the actor, weren't so lucky, with Jim recalling another two children who weren't even allowed inside their host's farmhouse, but had to sleep in the barn, and others who received no schooling.
With his father having served in the First World War, one brother at Dunkirk and two others serving in the Airborne Division and Royal Marines, Jim said he looked forward to joining up.
After passing his training, he was accepted into the Coldstream Guards, the oldest continuously serving regiment in the British Army, best known for their ceremonial duties as protectors of the royal palace.
Yes, they are the ones in those bearskin hats but, no, he says they don't weigh that much!
For Jim his five years of service included taking part in the 1951 Trooping the Colour for a then Princess Elizabeth, and being posted for three months at Windsor Castle.
But Jim pointed out each guardsman has also served in a war zone, in his case, the Middle East, where he was when he heard that King George VI had died in February 1952.
He is proud to have served both the king and the queen, with Elizabeth immediately taking over from her father, although her official coronation was not until August 1953.
A little research uncovers that Michael Caine too was in the army, doing National Service from 1952-4 in the Royal Fusiliers, serving in Germany and the Korean War.
He then returned to Britain at 20 to follow acting and make that Cockney accent famous.
Jim, meanwhile, came out to Australia in 1965 and raised his family, and while he may not have found fame, he did find happiness.