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