IN a lifetime that has extended through a hundred years, Percy Middleton has been a witness to some of the greatest events of the past century.
And now, as he celebrates his landmark birth at Sheffield’s Cotleigh Residential Care Home – one of the ten homes operated across Sheffield by not for profit organisation Sheffcare – Percy can look back with family and friends on a lifetime of progress and change.
Percy was born in Nottinghamshire on March 20 1919 and along with sisters Violet and Phyllis he was a pupil at Eckington School, where his favourite subject was history.
He began working in the mining industry as both a miner and electrician when he was 14.
His career was interrupted by the outbreak of war in 1939, when he served with the Royal Engineers, finding himself caught up in the drama of the Dunkirk evacuations of 1940.
Percy was among the thousands who spent five days on the beaches near the Belgian town of La Panne, before he was rescued and taken on board HMS Whitehall and returned in safety to Dover.
He went on to serve with the army in North Africa, Italy and Austria, surviving the war to be discharged from the forces in 1946, when he returned to work at pits in Beighton, Westhorpe, Killamarsh and Renishaw Park until his retirement in 1980.
He had two sons, Keith and Roy, with his first wife Doris, who he married in 1940 and following her death in 1998 he married his second wife Mary.
A party for family – he also has four grandsons – and friends is being held at the home to mark Percy’s very special day.