Sheffield veteran who has seen a lifetime of change celebrates 100th birthday

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.

Thursday, 21st March 2019, 7:17 pm
Updated Monday, 25th March 2019, 12:38 pm

And now, as he celebrates his landmark birth at Sheffield’s Cotleigh Residential Care Home - one of the 10 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.

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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.

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In 1933, then just age 14, he left school and began working at Beighton Colliery, Derbyshire as a miner and electrician and two years later he met his first wife Doris Hartley at a village fete in Eckington.

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 before being rescued by the destroyer HMS Whitehall and taken to Dover.

Percy married Doris on February 23 1940, at Eckington Parish Church having been given only a few days leave from the army to do so.

Soon after the wedding he went on to serve with the British Army in North Africa, missing the birth of his first son Keith in 1941.

He travelled to Italy and Austria, surviving the war to be discharged from the forces in 1946, and four years later Doris gave birth to the pairs second son.

Percy also returned to work at pits in Beighton, Westhorpe, Killamarsh and Renishaw Park where he stayed until his retirement in 1980.

Following the death of his wife Doris in 1998 he went on to marry his second wife Mary.

In a Facebook post, his son Roy said: “Incredibly not long ago at the age of 98, he was still travelling by bus on his own into Sheffield city centre, to have a drink and cigar at his favourite pub!”

Percy, who is a great-great-grandfather, celebrated the milestone birthday surrounded by family at a party held at the care home.