War veteran joined by Irish Guards to celebrate 100th birthday

Harry was surprised by members of the Irish Guards for his 100th birthday
Harry was surprised by members of the Irish Guards for his 100th birthday

A war veteran was surprised by members of his former regiment when he turned 100 this weekend.

Harry Grice, of Burton Latimer, served with the 1st Battalion Irish Guards during World War Two and survived the bombing of a troopship he was on board in 1940.

The guardsmen brought the regiment's mascot

The guardsmen brought the regiment's mascot

When fellow Burton Latimer resident David Hobbs, who also served with the regiment, heard about Harry's milestone birthday, he got in touch with the Irish Guard's headquarters to see if they would help mark the occasion.

It led to a number of Guardsmen making a surprise appearance at Harry's birthday party on Saturday, accompanied by their mascot, an Irish wolfhound called Domhnall. As well as a letter from the Queen, Harry also received a card from Prince William, Colonel of the Regiment.

Harry, who lives at home with his wife Betty, was born in Sheffield but moved to Burton Latimer after the war. They had two children - Peter, who died when he was just a few months old, and Michael, who died in 2012.

After the war, Harry worked for a time at Weetabix and also had his own business. The couple celebrate their 76th wedding anniversary on Wednesday and Betty turns 96 on Monday 5 August.

Harry served with the 1st Battalion Irish Guards during World War Two

Harry served with the 1st Battalion Irish Guards during World War Two

Although the couple have outlived all their family, a network of friends and neighbours look out for them.

Carole Garside has known them for 40 years. She said: "Harry kept saying he wasn't going to make it to 100 but I told him he would and that we'd have a party. I think on the day he was quite emotional because everyone made such an effort.

"Harry always said the key to a long life is to keep active and to keep moving. He has a huge garden and until just a few years ago, he was still still doing the gardening and growing vegetables."

Mr Hobbs first got in touch with Harry after the Irish Guards Association informed him about the fellow veteran living in his town. Since then Mr Hobbs regularly checks in on Harry and has heard accounts of his time during the war.

Harry received a birthday cake from the Irish Guards and a card from Prince William, Colonel of the Regiment

Harry received a birthday cake from the Irish Guards and a card from Prince William, Colonel of the Regiment

Harry was part of the Norway campaign and faced tough conditions, even sleeping in the snow on occasion.

Mr Hobbs said: "An inspirational guardsman with tremendous courage - just to bring up these memories is a testament to the type of character you can find in the Guards and the British Army as a whole.

"Harry's face when he saw the Guardsmen appear on his birthday was fantastic. It was a brilliant day."