Mayor Joins Veteran's 100th Birthday Celebrations
A veteran of the Dunkirk landings was joined by civic dignitaries, service personnel both past and present as well as his family and friends for a milestone event.
Norman Lewis celebrated his 100th birthday with a party at the Tri Services Centre in Hassell Street, Newcastle.
The Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire, Mr Ian Dudson, and the Worshipful the Mayor of Newcastle-under-Lyme, Cllr. Simon White, joined Norman on the special occasion.
He served in France from October 1939 until June 1940 before being captured and sent to a prisoner of war camp in Poland.
During recent publicity to mark the D-Day landings, Norman said: “I was there for five years.
For two-and-half-years I worked in the main camp in which there were 23,500 prisoners.
“My diet each day consisted of no breakfast, a bowl of soup at dinner time and a round of bread at night and that was it.
“We had lice, we were dirty, we couldn’t wash properly, and we slept in compartments three tiers high which slept 60 men with 20 to a platform.”
At the end of the war he was transported thousands of miles via Odessa on the Black Sea, Turkey, Egypt, Italy and Gibraltar before landing back in England.
He said: “I had covered more than 10,000 miles in three months. While I was in Egypt I was told I had five years back-pay to collect – which paid for a nice house in Meir.”
Norman still lives there to this day and is a regular visitor to the Tri Services Centre in Hassell Street, Newcastle, where the registered charity provides a drop-in facility as well as a whole range of advice and support services for dozens of former service personnel from across the area.
The Mayor said: “Our nation owes an immense debt of gratitude to people like Norman who served their country with heroism and distinction. I was both honoured and delighted to have been asked to go along and help him celebrate his 100th birthday and it was a fantastic occasion.
“In June this year we marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. That was a momentous occasion to celebrate peace, liberty and reconciliation. Without people like Norman none of that would be possible.”
Last updated 15 August 2019