Ealing War Veteran Celebrates 100th birthday

Party for Charlie Hatfield held at the Age UK centre in Greenford

Centenarian Charlie Hatfield with birthday cake and balloons
Centenarian Charlie Hatfield with birthday cake and balloons

July 9, 2024

A man from Ealing who served in the British Army during the Second World War has just celebrated his 100th birthday.

A centenarian Charlie Hatfield was surrounded by friends and family at Age UK Ealing’s wellbeing day centre where he has been a visitor for the last eight years. The celebrations took place just before Charlie’s big day on 30 June. There were balloons, cake and even live musical entertainment from another user of the centre, Hugh, 86 – who had guests singing along to his performances of songs by Tina Turner, Elvis and Frank Sinatra.

Charlie Hatfield, who has lived in the borough all of his life, repaired tanks and drove them to the frontlines in the latter stages of the war having served in the reserve and then being called up just two days after D-Day aged 19.

His father, who served in both world wars, helped to ensure Mr Hatfield was able to complete his army training close to home in White City.

During his lifetime Charlie has lived under 5 British monarchs. His son Malcolm believes the secret to his dad reaching such a milestone birthday is ‘being in the moment and worrying about right now rather than what might happen.’

The elder Mr Hatfield said, “Before I started coming to the Age UK Ealing day centre, I spent a lot of time on my own at home. It’s really made a difference being able to come here on a Thursday and make so many friends.”

Charlie with day centre managers, Jan and Carolyn
Charlie with day centre managers, Jan and Carolyn

Joint day centre managers Jan O’Hagan and Carolyn Blackford said, “We have had the pleasure of Charlie’s company for the last 8 years. He comes to the wellbeing day centre once a week, participates in activities and socialises with others.

“He gives us great stories of his past and his life. He is a very smart dresser and takes pride in his appearance. He likes a game of bingo, always chooses the dark chocolates as prizes when he wins.”

Mr Hatfield, who has even been a poster figure on Age UK and Ealing Community Transport websites, said, “Seeing all these people here today is just wonderful. I had no idea what my son and Jan and Carolyn had planned – it was a lovely surprise.”

The most significant events of Mr Hatfield’s life include meeting his wife, Marie, and watching England win the World Cup in 1966.

He met Marie in 1937 at the Lions Club in north Greenford. They married in 1939 and remained happily married for more than 60 years until she passed away at the age of 90. They moved into their current home in 1958, where Charlie still lives today.

Before retiring, Mr Hatfield worked for London Transport for much of his career in the repair depot, where his responsibilities included repairing fabrics for the iconic London buses.

The centenarian is an avid Arsenal supporter and has been since his brother took him to his first match in the 1930s. A keen sportsman, he enjoyed many happy years playing bowls. He would still love to fulfil his ambition of visiting Arsenal’s new Emirates Stadium.


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