OLD soldier Vic Reed, who received the Chevaliers de la Legion d’honneur for his part in the Normandy landings, has celebrated his 100th birthday with family and friends.
Mr Reed, who grew up in Bromham and spent much of his life living in Rowde, near Devizes, was joined at Market Lavington Care Home by a large group of friends from the Bromham Monday Club.
His nephew John said: “It was a lovely afternoon. Vic seemed to really enjoy it. He had his card from the Queen and a nice cake.”
Widower Mr Reed lost his wife Doreen last April when she died aged 92 after 71 years of marriage.
The couple, who married in 1947, once ran the New Inn at Westbrook. Mr Reed also worked on luxury liners as a steward.
His nephew , who lives near Devizes, said: “Vic is a bit frail now and hard of hearing but he has always loved socialising and has a lot of friends. He was an active member of the Royal British Legion and Wiltshire Regiment organisations.
“A lot of people from the Monday Club came along. He and Doreen had been members for many years.”
An afternoon tea was held for Mr Reed on March 5 and he wore his medals for the special occasion.
Mr Reed joined the army with his close friend Ivor Gardner in 1937 having joined the local T.A. before the war.They disembarked on Gold Beach on June 6, 1944 as members of the mortar platoon of The Wiltshire Regiment.
They were inseparable until Mr Reed received leg wounds at Else, near Nijmegen, and was repatriated. He nearly lost his legs, but finally made a full recovery.
The two men first became friends at Bromham Primary School and were together in The Bell at Bromham, which later became the Oliver Cromwell and is now an Indian restaurant, on the first Sunday evening following the outbreak of war in September, 1939.
A sergeant arrived and told them to meet in Devizes the next morning to join the Wiltshire Regiment.
After the D Day landings they were engaged in many of the key battles to liberate France from the Germans. Both men attained the rank Sergeant.
Mr Reed was wounded during a battle in the Dutch town of Nijmegen and had to return home.
Gazette and Herald - 12 March 2019