, senior reporter
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
It was the year the Irish civil war ended and the Russian communist revolutionary Lenin retired as chairman of the Soviet government, while in Britain 1923 also saw the first outside broadcast by the BBC.
And on February 2, Attleborough man Dick Newson was born to his parents Ernest and Ellen Newson, who lived at Money Hill Farm in Hingham.
He celebrated his 90th birthday on Saturday with a meal at the Stag restaurant at Breckland Lodge, while on Monday he had a family meal and visits from friends and fellow members of Connaught Bowls Club in Attleborough.
He is one of eight children, including brothers Herbert, Rupert, Alan, Dennis and Tommy and sisters Florence and Barbara and he attended Cranworth school until he was 14 before leaving to become a farm worker at his father’s farm.
He described life as a farm labourer as much tougher during the late 1930s because the equipment was not as modern as now and tractors used to run on special wheels known as spade lugs.
His working life was interrupted by service in the military, which he joined in 1943 as a private in the Royal Artillery, spending six weeks at Nelson Barracks in Norwich before completing an eight week gunnery course at Redcar in Yorkshire and a period of service in Scotland where he was responsible for looking after mules.
He was then sent to India to fight the Japanese during the Far East conflict, but fell ill with pneumonia while on board a Polish ship and had to stop in Egypt for treatment.
When he was released he had to find his own way to India to meet up with the rest of the regiment, but the conflict ended soon after his arrival.
After returning to England, he was quickly demobbed as his job was on an important labour list, so he was able to resume life as a farm labourer.
On March 31, 1956 he married his wife Jessie, 86, a teacher at St John’s Chapel in Attleborough and the couple moved to their current home at Corner Farm in West Carr Road.
They have one child, Jane, 53, who lives in Norwich and three grandchildren- Sarah Burt, 27, Rachel Burt, 25 and Matthew Burt, 22.
Mr Newson, who retired as a farm labourer in 1987, is also an honorary life member of the bowls club he joined in 1967 and he played short mat bowls until a couple of years ago.
He added: “I think my long life is down to living sensibly, lots of hard work and having my family living close by.”