Northampton man who was believed to be dead in World War Two bombings celebrates 100th birthday

The milestone was due to be marked with a big family celebration, but had to be adapted to meet social distancing guidelines
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A man who survived World War Two bombings twice is celebrating his milestone 100th birthday.

Arthur Ringer, who was born in West Ham, London on August 11, 1920 worked for a company who made aircraft parts.

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In the early part of World War Two, he was caught in a two separate bombings.

Arthur with his two sons Christopher and Geoffrey.Arthur with his two sons Christopher and Geoffrey.
Arthur with his two sons Christopher and Geoffrey.

On one of these occasions, he and his sister were stuck in a basement and taken straight to hospital, where they remained for weeks, but their family believed they had died.

Following the bombings, Arthur’s company, Browns Brothers, moved its factory to a premises in Bedford Road as bosses were worried about business.

Arthur has been in the town ever since and has now marked his special birthday with cake and staggered family visits to his home in Weston Favell.

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Chris Ringer, one of Arthur’s two sons, said: “Considering he survived bombings, and the second time around he ended up in hospital and his family thought he was dead, and he survived cancer later on in his life, it’s incredible that he has made it.

Arthur in his younger days.Arthur in his younger days.
Arthur in his younger days.

“I don’t know any friends who know anyone who has reached 100 years; it’s very unusual.

“He has done really well.”

Arthur married his childhood sweetheart, Ellen, who joined him in Northampton, where they brought up their two sons.

In his younger years, Arthur enjoyed a lot of activities from football, table tennis and bowls to tending to his allotment.

The impressive cake Arthur's family had made for him.The impressive cake Arthur's family had made for him.
The impressive cake Arthur's family had made for him.
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He also looked forward to an annual family holiday to the seaside, first by train and then in his car from the 1940s.

Arthur and Ellen only ever flew once for a holiday in Jersey as they preferred trips within the UK.

The couple celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in 2012, three years before Ellen died after many years suffering from dementia and Arthur being her carer.

Chris added: “We always thought both he and mum would make it to 100 and I’m sure mum would have done if dementia hadn’t taken over.

Arthur is looking forward to celebrating with his whole family when they can all be together again.Arthur is looking forward to celebrating with his whole family when they can all be together again.
Arthur is looking forward to celebrating with his whole family when they can all be together again.
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“He lives alone in the house he bought with my mum a long time ago.

“When she died, he was adamant he wasn’t moving out, so we have carers who go in twice a day.

“He likes to watch TV, but he’s almost deaf and up until around 18 months ago, he refused to watch TV with the subtitles. He said they are annoying.”

Arthur is extremely proud of his family and was looking forward to celebrating his birthday with them all.

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While his actual birthday was marked with a small, socially distanced occasion, his two sons, four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren are looking forward to celebrating properly soon.

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