Corby Normandy veteran celebrates 100th birthday

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Happy birthday Jim!

A Corby Normandy veteran has celebrated his 100th birthday today (Friday, January 26), receiving an outpouring of generosity from the community.

Jim Wigfield was 18 in December 1942, 82 years ago, when he was called up to serve in the Second World War with the 123rd Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment of The Royal Artillery.

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He celebrated his birthday today with a meal at The Spread Eagle and will have a party tomorrow, at which over 120 members of his family will be there with him celebrating.

Jim WigfieldJim Wigfield
Jim Wigfield

In the run up to this special occasion, Jim’s granddaughter, Tanya Day, posted on Facebook asking for people to make it even more special by wishing him a happy birthday on the day, by either inboxing her or perhaps even giving him a card.

The post saw Tanya receive more than 250 comments and 100 direct messages, mostly from people asking for an address to send a card too.

Jim received about 60 cards from people in the community, as well as sweets, chocolates, and balloons.

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Jim said: “I’d like to thank everybody for the birthday cards. People have been very good to me haven’t they?”

Jim Wigfield with granddaughter MelJim Wigfield with granddaughter Mel
Jim Wigfield with granddaughter Mel

After being called up to serve in the Second World War, Jim completed his initial training, passing out in 1943, but it is whilst stationed at Overstone Park near Northampton that he received his D-Day orders.

Jim was one of the brave servicemen, serving with the Royal Artillery which participated in the Normandy landings.

Establishing that foothold on mainland Europe was vital not only for the liberation of France but the overthrow of the Nazis and the eventual end of the Second World War.

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Jim spent another two years in Germany after the war, before being demobbed in 1947.

Jim Wigfield with his grandaughter's husband RabJim Wigfield with his grandaughter's husband Rab
Jim Wigfield with his grandaughter's husband Rab
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He returned to his painter and decorator job in Sheffield, where he met his first wife - moving down to Corby in 1952 where they married.

He became the secretary of the Northamptonshire Normandy Veterans Association and afterwards was made life president of the Corby branch of the Royal British Legion.

Jim has seven grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren, and four great great grandchildren.

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Jim during his time in GermanyJim during his time in Germany
Jim during his time in Germany

For six years now Jim has been going to the Boating Lake with his granddaughter's husband, Rab. He’s made lots of friends there and goes every afternoon no matter the weather.

When asked how he felt about turning 100, he said: “Bloody old” but quipped that he’s ‘not too bad’ for his age and that his only trouble was that he can’t get about on his own and has to be pushed around.

He’s very much looking forward to his party tomorrow, where family and friends from nearby and also Sheffield will be attending, as well as Corby’s mayor, Cllr Leanne Buckingham.

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