Second World War vet celebrates 100th birthday
Published Saturday, March 2, 2019 5:29PM PST
There are few Canadians who deserve a birthday greeting from Queen Elizabeth as much as 100-year-old Jack Lawrence.
The Hope, B.C. resident celebrated his centennial surrounded by his family and friends at the local legion on Saturday.
Lawrence reminisced about some of the most remarkable moments over the past hundred years.
At the start of the Second World War, he shot down planes in England.
After D-Day, he was shipped out to France and fought face-to-face against the German army.
In one battle, a bullet pierced his cheek, shattering some teeth and knocking him out cold.
When he woke up several hours later, he become a prisoner of war.
After a few months, he and a handful of other Canadians in his camp hatched a plan and escaped.
"We could hear the dogs barking and the Germans yelling," he recalled. "We waded through the swamp."
After several days on the run, Lawrence and the others came upon a British Army regiment and found refuge there.
When the war ended, he returned to Hope, working briefly for the Kettle Valley Railroad before settling in for a long career at the Royal Canadian Legion.
The current president of the legion said it is an honour to host Lawrence's milestone birthday.
"We just are so thrilled to have come today and celebrate his 100th with us," said Ian Williams, Legion president.
Fellow veterans and his entire family were on hand for the celebration.
Lawrence has one daughter, three grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and 13 great-great-grandchildren.
"Hopefully we carry the legacy on and pass on the memories that great-grandpa has given us to our country and to our family as well," said great-grandson Chris Bone.
According to Lawrence, the secret to longevity is drinking the ‘water of life.’
"Good whiskey…I've drank my share," he said with a chuckle.
The birthday celebrations will continue until next week, when Lawrence's long-time partner, Eli, turns 96.