Skip to main content
Global Edition
Saturday, January 16, 2021

Hundreds join to celebrate a Dunkirk hero's 100th birthday

Credit: SWNS STUDIO
Duration: 01:27s 0 shares 1 views
Hundreds join to celebrate a Dunkirk hero's 100th birthday
Hundreds join to celebrate a Dunkirk hero's 100th birthday

One of the 'forgotten heroes of Dunkirk' who faced a lonely 100th birthday in lockdown says he was overwhelmed after hundreds turned out to celebrate.Eric Taylor stood and waved as countless well wishers drove or walked past his home to pay tribute.A brass band surprised him with a special rendition of 'happy birthday' while two fighter jets from a nearby Royal Navy base also flew overhead.And after an appeal from his family who had to cancel the planned celebrations for his 100th birthday due to coronavirus - he received nearly 450 cards sent from people across the world.The events were organised by Eric's son, Bruce, who wanted to make sure his father, had a special day.Eric said: "I'm so pleased to reach this age and still able to enjoy what I've received today, with everyone helping to make a tremendous day on my 100th birthday. "I'm thrilled to be here with the people.

All in all, things have gone very well here today."Eric received his message from HM The Queen, but thanks to an appeal by his son, Bruce, he also received countless cards from people around the globe.Bruce said: "There were over 200 physical cards that arrived through the door, including from Her Majesty the queen and the Lord Leftenant of Cornwall."There's been so many that all he's done is open them and put them in a basket, he'll read them when he gets the time."There was a good 100 people at the drive by, there were lots of motor bikes and cars, and two fighter jets from Culdrose did a fly by."He was aware that there were things going on, but he didn't realise what had happened happened.

But he was delighted, he thought it was absolutely terrific."We had a number of e-cards and lots of emails from people who missed the post, from America, Canada, France, and all over the UK - from fellow veterans to young children."Throughout the day countless cars, motorbikes, and walkers passed Eric's home in Helston, Cornwall, to wish him a happy birthday.In the evening there was also a visit from the Helston Town Band who played music outside his home.Bruce continued: "We've had a fantastic day despite the lockdown, we've been trying to make sure dad's had a good day to enjoy.Dad is 100, at 19 he was captured in France then a prisoner of war for the rest of the war.

He's had a difficult time but lived to tell the tale."Dad's been inundated, it's been incredible.

He's had over 200 cards, as in hard copies, I've had in excess of 250 emails and 200 e-cards. "The email box has been going ping, ping, ping."The response has been superb, he's had a fantastic day.

I think he's been overwhelmed."He knew we had bits organised but I don't think he thought for one minute there would be so many people or so much going on."He's been thrilled that so many people have turned up to wish him well and offer their congratulations for making it to 100."Eric was just 19 when he was captured in France with the Royal Norfolk Regiment, while defending the get-away at Dunkirk.His regiment became detached from those that were evacuated and joined the Scottish 51st Highland Division and as they were pushed back to the coast at St Valery en Caux.A week after Dunkirk the French forces surrendered and the remaining forces were captured and became prisoners of war.He was then marched to Poland and five years as a German prisoner of war, before being marched back in 1945 when America released them from the German army.Eric was later awarded the British Empire Medal for his services and featured in the Channel 4 documentary Dunkirk - The Forgotten Heroes, which was recently shown again on TV with the 80th anniversary of Dunkirk.He went on to become a St Keverne Brass Band legend, playing the B-flat bass from 1950 onwards and in more recent years conducing the training band, teaching hundreds of children over the years and only giving it up in the last four or five years.

One of the 'forgotten heroes of Dunkirk' who faced a lonely 100th birthday in lockdown says he was overwhelmed after hundreds turned out to celebrate.Eric Taylor stood and waved as countless well wishers drove or walked past his home to pay tribute.A brass band surprised him with a special rendition of 'happy birthday' while two fighter jets from a nearby Royal Navy base also flew overhead.And after an appeal from his family who had to cancel the planned celebrations for his 100th birthday due to coronavirus - he received nearly 450 cards sent from people across the world.The events were organised by Eric's son, Bruce, who wanted to make sure his father, had a special day.Eric said: "I'm so pleased to reach this age and still able to enjoy what I've received today, with everyone helping to make a tremendous day on my 100th birthday.

"I'm thrilled to be here with the people.

All in all, things have gone very well here today."Eric received his message from HM The Queen, but thanks to an appeal by his son, Bruce, he also received countless cards from people around the globe.Bruce said: "There were over 200 physical cards that arrived through the door, including from Her Majesty the queen and the Lord Leftenant of Cornwall."There's been so many that all he's done is open them and put them in a basket, he'll read them when he gets the time."There was a good 100 people at the drive by, there were lots of motor bikes and cars, and two fighter jets from Culdrose did a fly by."He was aware that there were things going on, but he didn't realise what had happened happened.

But he was delighted, he thought it was absolutely terrific."We had a number of e-cards and lots of emails from people who missed the post, from America, Canada, France, and all over the UK - from fellow veterans to young children."Throughout the day countless cars, motorbikes, and walkers passed Eric's home in Helston, Cornwall, to wish him a happy birthday.In the evening there was also a visit from the Helston Town Band who played music outside his home.Bruce continued: "We've had a fantastic day despite the lockdown, we've been trying to make sure dad's had a good day to enjoy.Dad is 100, at 19 he was captured in France then a prisoner of war for the rest of the war.

He's had a difficult time but lived to tell the tale."Dad's been inundated, it's been incredible.

He's had over 200 cards, as in hard copies, I've had in excess of 250 emails and 200 e-cards.

"The email box has been going ping, ping, ping."The response has been superb, he's had a fantastic day.

I think he's been overwhelmed."He knew we had bits organised but I don't think he thought for one minute there would be so many people or so much going on."He's been thrilled that so many people have turned up to wish him well and offer their congratulations for making it to 100."Eric was just 19 when he was captured in France with the Royal Norfolk Regiment, while defending the get-away at Dunkirk.His regiment became detached from those that were evacuated and joined the Scottish 51st Highland Division and as they were pushed back to the coast at St Valery en Caux.A week after Dunkirk the French forces surrendered and the remaining forces were captured and became prisoners of war.He was then marched to Poland and five years as a German prisoner of war, before being marched back in 1945 when America released them from the German army.Eric was later awarded the British Empire Medal for his services and featured in the Channel 4 documentary Dunkirk - The Forgotten Heroes, which was recently shown again on TV with the 80th anniversary of Dunkirk.He went on to become a St Keverne Brass Band legend, playing the B-flat bass from 1950 onwards and in more recent years conducing the training band, teaching hundreds of children over the years and only giving it up in the last four or five years.

Advertisement

Related news coverage

You might like

More coverage