Story by: ANDREW PAPWORTH
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
A Second World War veteran who went on to become chief clerk in the children’s department at the old Huntingdonshire County Council celebrates his 100th birthday today (Wednesday, February 13).
Maurice Dale, more commonly known as Jim, will celebrate with his family at the Ferry Boat Inn, in Holywell, before a party with approximately 30 of his friends at Rose Cottage care home, in Broughton, tomorrow.
Mr Dale, who only moved into the home aged 99, is described by his relatives as one of the most active pensioners around who “always wanted to help people, right up to the time he had to stop driving aged 95”.
Gentle and small in stature, in his 80s he was found using a ladder to climb onto the roof of his bungalow by his son James, who is his only child. He also continued to volunteer in roles such as Honorary Life President of St Ives and Huntingdon Probus Club.
“He has never been one to sit watching television,” said James. “He would always be doing something. He loved his garden and would always be out at meetings or concerts.”
The secret to his father’s long life, James believes, is “being active and being interested in people”.
He added: “He is a gentleman and he really dealt with and mixed with anyone. He was as much at home with Sir John Major as he was his neighbours.”
Mr Dale was born on February 13, 1913, in Portsmouth and qualified as an Associate of the Surveyors Institute before the Second World War.
He married Iris on July 1, 1933. In 1938 he joined the RAF as a volunteer reserve but was too old to be a pilot. He was accepted as a wireless operator and air gunner and was called up for active service in June, 1939.
He served in various roles during the war, including Transport Command during the Berlin Airlift after the war.
In 1958 he was posted to the Technical Training Command at RAF Brampton, retiring from the air force in 1962.
He joined Huntingdonshire County Council as chief clerk in the children’s department, where he worked until 1978 on the administration of children’s homes.
He was also a part-time youth leader in St Ives in 1964 and judged athletics at Huntingdonshire schools and at RAF Alconbury.
The grandfather-of-two was later appointed deputy registrar of births, marriages and deaths, a role he fulfilled until 1985.
His wife Iris died in 1991 and he went on to become a founding member of Cruse Bereavement Care in St Ives.
Mr Dale is a life member of the Royal Air Force Association and the Royal British Legion and has been a member of the NHS Retirement Fellowship since 1988.