Shrewsbury war veteran Thomas celebrates his 100th birthday with family and friends
A war veteran who only put away his dancing shoes two years ago, turned 100 this weekend surrounded by friends and family.
Thomas Knight, who served in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in the Second World War and was involved in the D-Day landings, celebrated his 100th birthday with a letter from the Queen and an intimate tea party for close family and friends at a care home in Shrewsbury.
His son, Christopher, said his dad can only be described as a "true gentleman" whose life-long loves have always been gardening and dancing with his late wife, Celia.
Having been brought up in Nottingham with six other siblings, Thomas left school when he was 14 and started work in the shoe trade when he was 16, a career he continued in until retiring at 65.
Thomas, Celia and Christopher moved to Shrewsbury in 1967 after his time serving in the Second World War.
Christopher said his dad would always talk about his experience in the war as he saw it first-hand from the front line.
"On D-Day my dad was at the forefront of the landing because he used to operate the guns at the front," Christopher said.
"Over the years he would talk more about the camaraderie with his colleagues, the training they went through and all the places he visited. He would talk less about the nitty-gritty, as is understandable.
"He decided after being in the army for a year, that being a private was not good enough. So he worked his way through the ranks to become a sergeant major – so he could get better digs and food, and importantly, use of the bar."
Christopher said his father's lifelong passion is his garden. Even after retiring, Thomas worked in a garden centre until he was 85.
"He has always been a very active man" he said. "My mother and father also always enjoyed going to tea dances – they only stopped going two years ago.
"He is such a lovely man, I have never heard him say a cross word. He is a real gentleman."