War veteran celebrates his 100th birthday at a Ewell care home

Jack Richardson  who fought with Monty in World War II celebrated his 100th birthday

Jack Richardson who fought with Monty in World War II celebrated his 100th birthday

First published in News Wandsworth Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A man who fought with Monty in World War II celebrated his 100th birthday on Friday.

Jack Richardson fought at El Alamein, in Egypt, where victory over Rommel's forces marked a turning point in the Western Desert Campaign.

On Friday a party was held for Mr Richardson at the Elders Care Home, in Epsom Road, Ewell, where his wife Lillian turned 100 in 2010 shortly before her death.

The couple, who met on holiday on the Isle of Wight and tied the knot in 1938, had celebrated their 72nd wedding anniversary together at the home.

He joined the Territorial Army and soon after the couple settled in Ifield transferred to the Royal Artillery at the start of the Second World War.

He fought with the Eight Army, nicknamed the Desert Rats, at El Alamein where he remembers being sceptical about General Montgomery's decision at one stage to send in all the reserves - although it paid off.

Promoted to sergeant, he was away from home for five years and when he was demobbed returned, aged 33, with no qualifications, no job and just a kit bag on his shoulder.

But at last he was reunited with his beloved wife.

Born into a poor family in Clapham, at the age of 14 he had gone to work as a clerk at a chartered accountants and in his forties he passed the exams necessary to become an accountant.

The couple lived in Meadow Walk, Ewell, for 40 years before moving into Elders Care Home in 2005.

In a speech on Friday, the care manager’s husband John Mills said: "Jack is well loved here at the Elders and a wonderful person.

"He is the most kind, friendly and interesting person to have graced these walls, a credit to the home and is just how a true gentleman should be.

"Long live Jack."

Comments (1)

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1:21pm Thu 8 Nov 12

paulcheall says...

Great to read about this – thanks. I’ve
recently been in touch with an old soldier who was at Alamein, Wilf Shaw of
Oldham. See below to read part of Wilf’s memoir, describing what it was like to
be at El Alamein with Monty's 8th Army:

"My feelings, bearing in mind what had happened previously at Gazala and in the most appropriate phrase I can think of,
were "fatalistic resignation". I just couldn't see how I was going to
get through it without serious injury or worse, which I didn't, but, thank God,
I didn't lose a limb. I am not ashamed to say I was scared as hell, I was part of a section of 8 or 9 who advanced
towards dug-in Italians with Bredas, no more than 40 or 50 yards away. They opened
up as we advanced and hit most of us, I hit the deck and jammed the rim of my
steel helmet into the ground, it was an action that surely saved my life
because a bullet smashed straight into it, it broke through the steel and
dropped on the inside of the camouflage net which covered my helmet. I was on
the right extremity of the advancing section, the lad on my left had been hit
around his mouth and neck and was in a bit of a state. I can still remember his
name, it was either Diggle or Dibble, I found out later that he didn't die from
his injuries.

An officer leading us gave the order to charge forward. I did and threw hand grenades and we overran the enemy
positions. I ended up in an enemy trench on top of a dead Italian. There was only the officer and myself who managed to get that far. I think if I was hearing this from anyone else I would find it hard to believe.

Go to www.fightingthrough.
co.uk/#/wilf-shaw-5/
4556736652 to read the rest of Wilf's commentary.

You can also read more about my own Dad’s war at the Home page on this same web site. His memoirs have recently been
published. Dad was at Dunkirk and in the first wave of troops landing on Gold beach on D-Day. He was also in North Africa, Sicily, and Hamburg.

Paul
Great to read about this – thanks. I’ve recently been in touch with an old soldier who was at Alamein, Wilf Shaw of Oldham. See below to read part of Wilf’s memoir, describing what it was like to be at El Alamein with Monty's 8th Army: "My feelings, bearing in mind what had happened previously at Gazala and in the most appropriate phrase I can think of, were "fatalistic resignation". I just couldn't see how I was going to get through it without serious injury or worse, which I didn't, but, thank God, I didn't lose a limb. I am not ashamed to say I was scared as hell, I was part of a section of 8 or 9 who advanced towards dug-in Italians with Bredas, no more than 40 or 50 yards away. They opened up as we advanced and hit most of us, I hit the deck and jammed the rim of my steel helmet into the ground, it was an action that surely saved my life because a bullet smashed straight into it, it broke through the steel and dropped on the inside of the camouflage net which covered my helmet. I was on the right extremity of the advancing section, the lad on my left had been hit around his mouth and neck and was in a bit of a state. I can still remember his name, it was either Diggle or Dibble, I found out later that he didn't die from his injuries. An officer leading us gave the order to charge forward. I did and threw hand grenades and we overran the enemy positions. I ended up in an enemy trench on top of a dead Italian. There was only the officer and myself who managed to get that far. I think if I was hearing this from anyone else I would find it hard to believe. Go to www.fightingthrough. co.uk/#/wilf-shaw-5/ 4556736652 to read the rest of Wilf's commentary. You can also read more about my own Dad’s war at the Home page on this same web site. His memoirs have recently been published. Dad was at Dunkirk and in the first wave of troops landing on Gold beach on D-Day. He was also in North Africa, Sicily, and Hamburg. Paul paulcheall
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