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The Royal British Legion is calling on the public to help a brave war hero celebrate his 105th birthday.
Ex-staff sergeant Ernest Horsfall served with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) from 1940 to 1946, before settling in Lancashire where he worked for Vauxhall Motors.
Remarkably, Ernest went on to take flying lessons at 43 and was a private pilot until the age of 93 when he couldn’t get insured. He continued maintaining aircraft until he was 101.
Ernest is due to turn 105 on April 21, reports Lancashire Live, but with no surviving relatives the Royal British Legion is asking the public to send birthday cards to his nursing home in Preston.
While he has no surviving family, the daredevil has a 63-year-old girlfriend in Iceland, and they speak online several times a week after spending 13 years together.
Brave Ernest says he still has vivid memories of serving with the Army Ordnance Corps in London in 1940 and feels lucky to have survived the terrible conflict.
He said: “There would be swarms of Nazi bombers flying overhead all night and I knew many people that were injured or worse. On one occasion, our guard room was hit and six of my pals were killed, I was just lucky it wasn’t my duty that night.”
Ernest was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, in 1918, three weeks after the RAF was formed. He was married for 57 years and had a son and a sister, but they have both now passed away.
The Royal British Legion’s branch secretary Christine Parry said: “We are working hard to make sure Ernest’s 105th birthday is a very special occasion. He is part of a dwindling band of brothers, but our World War Two generation should never be forgotten.
“I am hoping that people across Lancashire, and perhaps throughout the country, will take time to send a card to show Ernest how much we appreciate everything he did, in order for us to enjoy the freedoms that we do today.”
In November 2019, Ernest received an emotional VIP send-off from Preston Railway Station on his way to take part in the Royal British Legion’s Festival of Remembrance in London. He was one of only 44 World War Two veterans to take to the stage during the Festival at the Royal Albert Hall.
Anyone wishing to send a card can write to Ernest Horsfall at Brooklands, 6 Black Bull Lane, Preston PR2 3PU.
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