LAST week marked a special occasion for Mr James Mackie Warnes as he celebrated his 100th birthday with family in Carnoustie.
Mr Warnes, also known as Jim, was visited by provost Ruth Leslie Melville and Lord Lieutenant Georgiana Osborne as the family celebrated the occasion at Brookfield residential home in Carnoustie on Friday.
Mr Warnes was born in South Shields, Tyneside, the fourth child of six, and on leaving school he took a clerical post with a South Shields coal merchant.
He was conscripted into the RAF in August, 1940, as part of the national mobilisation and served as a wireless operator in Algiers, Cairo, North Africa, Rome, Naples, Florence and the former Yugoslavia.
One of his proudest possessions is a framed ‘still’ from his silent cameo in the 1942 film ‘One of our aircraft is missing’ that still sits at his bedside.
After demobilisation Mr Warnes returned to South Shields to take a job as an educational welfare officer with the local authority education office until his retirement.
He married Doreen Thorpe in 1952 and they had three children, Peter, Averil and Andrew, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Sadly, Doreen passed away in 1977 after a long illness, and in 1989 Mr Warnes came to Carnoustie to join his family who had moved here in 1981.
When asked what he attributed his long life to Mr Warnes said: “Well, I like walking and walking holidays. Also breathing exercises. When I was younger I had problems breathing and this improved them, but apart from that I really can’t tell you.”
Britain has changed substantially since Mr Warnes’ childhood, and believe it or not, things are better. He said: “Well I don’t see the poverty I once saw.
“Poverty was endemic. Anyone who got a job was very lucky. But the moment war broke out conditions improved, everyone’s standards of living got better.
“War did a lot of good for me, I travelled all over the world.”