Celebrations for WW2 Batley veteran on VE Day

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A former Sea Scout and Army veteran is on the crest of a wave after marking his magical centennial birthday milestone.

Ernest Barnes, of Lydgate Lodge Care Home, Batley, turned 100 years old on May 7, just ahead of the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

Originally from Devon, Mr Barnes, a keen swimmer, volunteered to join the army during the start of World War II and was recruited to the Royal Engineers in the Waverley’s 8th Army, where he served in North Africa.

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His daughter, Anne Waterfall, 63, said: “During the war he was ordered to help unload the ships at Alexandria Docks when German bombers flew over dropping bombs.

Ernest BarnesErnest Barnes
Ernest Barnes | jpimedia

“One landed nearby and Ernest was badly injured with shrapnel. He was taken to hospital in Palestine where an Italian doctor removed as much shrapnel as possible, including removing three ribs.

“During this time Ernest developed septicaemia followed by peritonitis - doctors thought he wouldn’t survive.”

When he did recover he was transferred to Durban, where he spent Christmas 1943.

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Eventually he was sent back to England for further rehabilitation and due to a clerical error Mr Barnes was sent to the barracks in Halifax, meeting his wife, Doreen, in Shibden Park.

Ernest received his congratulations from the QueenErnest received his congratulations from the Queen
Ernest received his congratulations from the Queen | jpimedia

“He was sat on a park bench and her dog, Peggy, ran off with Ernest’s cap, it was love at first sight,” said Ms Waterfall.

In his later years Mr Barnes suffered several heart attacks and contracted pneumonia but fought on. He was determined to see his 100th birthday and recognition from the Queen.

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