A former Irish Guard war hero was “overwhelmed” to receive a guard of honour on his 100th birthday.
Ernest Norbury, who lives at Hewlett Court retirement home in Holcombe Brook, served throughout the Second World War from the age of 20 and was wounded twice in the service of his country.
Sir David Trippier, Provincial Grand Master for East Lancashire Freemasons, and President of the Board of Directors for the East Lancashire Masonic Charity which owns Hewlett Court, was among honoured guests to congratulate Ernest on his milestone birthday on February 26.
The Mayor and Mayoress of Bury, Trevor and Evelyn Holt, were also in attendance, as were the Irish Guards themselves, who escorted him to the main lounge for a celebration, along with his son, daughter-in-law and grandson.
Ernest Norbury, who lives at Hewlett Court retirement home in Holcombe Brook, celebrated his 100th birthday with the Mayor and Mayoress of Bury, and Sir David Trippier, Provincial Grand Master for East Lancashire Freemasons, and President of the board of Directors for the East Lancashire Masonic Charity which owns Hewlett Court
Home manager Beverley Schofield, who organised the day along with director of operations Julie Ward helped by staff and Ernest’s family, said he had a “fabulous” day.
She said: “He was very overwhelmed on the day.
“He was aware that people were coming but not aware of the amount of people. It was really exciting for him. Sir David did a wonderful speech about his life in the Army.
“[Ernest] was lucky to be alive having been shot twice. He’s led an amazing life.”
Born in Chadderton, Ernest has lived at the Newcombe Road sheltered housing complex since 2011.
Beverley said it was a special day, but added that it was “well worth it, especially for someone as interesting as Ernest.”
Ernest Norbury has turned 100. Pictured in 1937
Whilst Ernest was serving his country he and another man were blown up and ended up in hospital. Ernest suffered concussion and eye problems, but was sent straight back to continue with his service.
The other soldier had his leg blown off. Ernest lost a lot of friends in the war.
When Ernest was 25 he was made Acting Company Sergeant Major and was in charge of 80 soldiers, a major responsibility considering his age.
He was also a Pipe Major and was in a band and at the back end of the war finished up treating soldiers.
He stayed in Normandy 12 months after landing there and discovering the war was over.