NORMANDY veteran Ron Trenchard celebrated his 100th birthday on the day this year’s Poppy Appeal was launched.
The former Royal Engineer, who was born in Highbury, North London on October 26, 1917, spent his milestone birthday with family and friends at a party organised by staff at Galanos House, the Royal British Legion care home in Southam where he now lives.
The son of an army clerk, Ron moved to Warwickshire with his family in 1937, and enlisted in The Royal Engineers at the age of 22 when war broke out.
He was part of the British Expeditionary Force and served in various Docks Operating Companies taking supplies off ships.
At the time of Dunkirk he was in Le Havre in France, but the ships left the area without the men and Ron was posted as missing for three weeks. During that time he had made his way to Brest and hitched passage on a ship sailing back to England.
After his great escape from France, Ron was posted to Egypt where he stayed until 1943, working on the Suez Canal.
During this time, Ron’s father died, and while home on leave, he also married his late wife Elsie May Rodenhurst.
On his return to service, Ron found himself training for the D-Day landings and went into France on Gold Beach. He spent six months at Arromanches, taking supplies off the Mulberry artificial harbours. He then served in the Port of Antwerp and finally in Lubeck in Germany after which he was discharged.
Ron became a civil servant after leaving the army. He lived in Warwick for many years before he moved to Kenilworth in the 1970s.
Ron’s three children Michael, Diane and Richard, four grandchildren, and three great grandchildren, along with friends and staff at Galanos House, joined the centurion’s celebration party.
Son Mike said: “We are all so proud of dad and his achievements. He has been thrilled to be made such a fuss of and we as a family are very touched by the effort by staff at Galanos who are absolutely fantastic in providing my dad with day-to-day care and assistance.”
Ron also received a telegram from the Queen congratulating him on his landmark birthday, which has gone alongside the 60th anniversary telegram Ron and his wife received in 2003.