A former Royal Engineers bomb disposal expert, who saw service in the bomb-strewn streets of Coventry, the deserts of North Africa and the beaches of Sicily and, is celebrating his 100th birthday on 2 December.
Harold William Fletcher joined up in 1939, becoming an expert in bomb and mine clearance. After Coventry was targeted by Hitler´s Luftwaffe and suffered under the Blitz, Harold was sent to take charge of clearing its many UXBs. For this service he was later awarded the British Empire Medal.
From the Midlands he was posted to North Africa and then to the beaches of Sicily and Italy before seeing service in Normandy as the Allies gained a foothold in Northern France for the push into Germany.
As his troop was examining one mine a shell exploded nearby, detonating the mine. Harold was injured in the blast and spent 18 months in hospital.
After the war Harold, a talented musician, accompanied many stars on the trumpet, playing with a number of major orchestras at venues such as the London Palladium.
His skills extended to photography and he set up a photo processing business in Marlow in Buckinghamshire. In his spare time he learned to glide, eventually becoming an instructor.
After the death of his wife he joined a dance club and eventually met Peggy who became his companion. They travelled extensively before settling in Los Gallardos, Almeria, where they lived for 20 years. Although Peggy died last year, Harold keeps going with the help of friends, nurses and carers. His friends, particularly Andrew Milne who helped prepare this tribute, all wish him a very Happy Birthday.