Wartime hero celebrates special milestone with family and friends
PUBLISHED: 09:28 20 February 2014 | UPDATED: 12:05 20 February 2014
A south Norfolk man who served in the Royal Navy on HMS Starling during the Second World War has celebrated his 100th birthday.
Albert Goudge, of Ditchingham, was born on February 15, 1914, above his father’s and uncle’s greengrocers in Dalston, London.
He was one of four brothers and two sisters and after leaving school went straight to work at The Mayfair Hotel in London.
In 1936, he married Kate Lillian Croxford, before joining the navy in 1940 at the age of 25.
He served on HMS Starling as a leading seaman and stayed in the navy until the war ended. He was awarded five medals for his service, including the Pacific and Atlantic Stars, along with the Arctic Star, which he was presented with a couple of weeks ago.
Mr Goudge and his wife had three children – David, Victor and Barbara – and now have eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
They moved to Ditchingham in 1970, where Mr Goudge got a job as a baker at Inwards in Bungay. He then worked part-time at Bungay Post Office as a cleaner until he retired in 1989 at the age of 75.
Mr Goudge said: “We used to come to this part of the country to stay at holiday camps and we loved the area.
“We saw a piece of ground up for sale and that was it, we decided to move here.”
Mr Goudge’s family and friends – including his 91-year-old sister Alice – travelled from as far as Canada, Essex and London to be with him at a surprise party on his special day. They celebrated the milestone at The Fisherman’s Inn, at Burgh Castle, where he had three birthday cakes in his favourite flavours; chocolate, coffee and Victoria sponge.
He said: “It was a big surprise to me, but it was a beautiful day and I enjoyed it very much.
“It was nice to have all my family and friends together because I don’t get to see some of them very often.”
Mr Goudge still lives in his own home with the support of family, friends and a carer in the mornings, but spends three days a week at All Hallows care home in Ditchingham.
When asked what the secret to his long life was, Mr Goudge said: “I’ve always looked after myself and I’ve got a lovely family to mix with.”
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