'You've made an old man smile' - War veteran with cancer receives Norwich gifts
PUBLISHED: 20:29 07 October 2019 | UPDATED: 20:29 07 October 2019
A war veteran with cancer has been left overjoyed after receiving mementos of Norwich.
John Fay, known as Jack, a 94-year-old former lieutenant, received a memory box this week organised by this newspaper and dedicated to the fine city to commemorate his placement in the city during the Second World War.
After receiving a bone cancer diagnosis earlier this year, his family had embarked on a mission to celebrate his love of the city but it proved challenging until we were able to thank him for his service and send a package with Norwich memorabilia.
His son-in-law Roy Carlson said: "We were able to visit Jack yesterday and were honoured to give Jack the mementos from Norwich on behalf of the Norwich Evening News. Jack was very surprised and excited to be remembered for his service. We are very grateful for your interest in Jack's story and for making an old man smile. He is very interested in reading the book on Norwich.
"Jack figures he has another four years but that is probably a stretch. But that is just another example of the can-do attitude of our greatest generation."
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Mr Fay, from California, served on a B24 plane as part of the US 8th Air Force, 785th Bombardment Squadron, during the war.
He had trained as a navigator and was later stationed as a 19-year-old in Norwich where he miraculously escaped a brush with death.
He was one of just a handful of survivors in a February 1945 plane crash, which forced crew members to attempt a return to England in order to avoid a likely death in a sea landing due to freezing water temperatures.
During the crash, Mr Fay's life was saved by pilot Captain WC Linde. Mr Fay has ensured his legacy lives on, by having a cigar and scotch every day since in memory of the pilot.
After the war, Mr Fay studied at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he met his wife, Marge, and trained as a lawyer.
He then worked as a lawyer in California, and later became the town mayor of Ojai, where he was instrumental in making the city a Federal Historical landmark after travelling to Washington DC on behalf of residents.
Mr Fay went on to have four children, eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, and was predeceased by his wife and his only son.