He survived Hitler’s 1,000-mile ‘death march’ across frozen Eastern Europe after being taken prisoner while fighting the Nazis for Britain.
But just a week ago, 96-year-old Gunner Robbie Clark was on the brink of homelessness after spending all of his money on the spiralling cost of care.
His council in Burnt Oak, North London, would pay only £350 towards the £960 a week cost, The Sun reports.
Now a father of two and grandfather of four, he has lived in his home for 46 years and is blind, deaf in one ear and dependent on a wheelchair.
After his experiences in the conflict, he suffered ‘severe anxiety’ and refused to go into residential care because it would 'remind me of being a prisoner of war'.
But Help for Heroes has now made a short-term grant to cover the cost of care while experts look at care options for the future – though he still faces uncertainty as supporters search for a permanent solution.
More than 160,000 people have signed a petition to support him. The site claims that his son Mike is still embroiled in a two-year battle with Brent Council over Mr Clarke’s care since he lost the use of his legs after a heart operation in 2012.
The campaign has raised more than £5,000 for Mr Clark, with people being encouraged to donate via a Just Giving page.
Mr Clark was captured in the North African port city of Tobruk in 1942, while serving in the Royal Artillery as part of the Durham Survey Regiment, reported The Express.
German Field Marshal Rommel told him and his colleagues: 'For you the war is over.'
He was transported to Germany via Greece and Italy, then to the notorious Stalag VIII-B at Lamsdorf near Krakow in occupied Poland, near to the infamous concentration camp Auschwitz.
He was a carpenter and a healthy prisoner but when American bombers started hitting targets close to their position, they were shipped out.
In 1945, Mr Clark was one of few survivors of the 80,000 British troops forced to march 1,000 miles across Eastern Europe during a particularly brutal winter. It later became known as Hitler’s death march.
Mr Clark told The Express: 'The Americans were bombing near to where we were,' says Clark, now a father of two with four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
'The Germans had said the bombers wouldn’t get as far as where we were but they did.
'It gave us hope when the Americans started to bomb.
'There was no radio or papers but we heard a little of what was happening with D-Day. I thought it was looking good. We were hoping that the Germans would desert and leave us.
Britain during WWII - in pictures
Britain during WWII - in pictures
1939: A squadron of Spitfires took part in mimic 'air alarms', during a speed demonstration at Duxford Aerodrome
1939: British railway workers fit floodgates below river level at Underground Stations
1939: A patient on a stretcher is loaded into a Green-Line coach ambulance when being evacuated from Guy's Hospital in London
1939: Metropolitan Police Constables wearing gas masks line up to enter a mobile gas chamber at East Ham Police Station, London
1939: A young female British Navy officer sitting astride a minesweeper's cannon and lighting a cigarette whilst two officers look on
1939: Schoolchildren crowd Ealing Broadway Station in London, some of the first youngsters to be evacuated to the country during World War II
1940: Bells rescued from the belfry of St Giles in Cripplegate, London, which was bombed during a night raid
1940: A projector, operating from its sunken sandbagged emplacement, at a searchlight station in the London area
1940: Auxiliary Territorial Services personnel sealing and preparing a Churchill tank for export to the Soviet Union
1940: An Australian soldier leaps from a tank during training exercises in Britain
1940: A man flies a Union Jack on a bomb site. The area was bombed twice, and the second time it tore the flag in two
1941: A policeman coaxing his pony to leave an area which is being evacuated due to the discovery of an unexploded bomb
1941: Charles de Gaulle (C), Chief of the French Free Forces, inspects the French colonial troops during during his visit of a military base in Great Britain
1941: US politician Wendell Willkie viewing the bomb damage to the Guildhall during the Blitz, London
1941: Men, women and children stand with their belongings on a pavement in Clydeside, in the aftermath of a severe bombing raid
1941: The famous American 'Eagle' Volunteer Air Squadron, formed during WWI, takes its place in the ranks of the RAF
1942: Work in progress of the decks of almost completed ships, being built for the merchant navy
1942: Two London buses passing through thick smoke screens during Civil Defence Service training operations
1942: A British ship (either the Cathay or the Karanja) on fire in Bougie Harbour (Bejaia), during the North African 'torch' landings. The Luftwaffe bombed three of the Allied ships as they attempted to reach shore
1943: American soldiers viewing some of London's raid damage during a tour
1943: A crashed German Messerschmitt is towed past the Houses of Parliament in London
1943: The wreckage of Sandhurst Road School in Catford, south London, the day after it was partially destroyed in a German bombing raid
1944: Extensive manoeuvres for invasion being carried out by American Sherman tank units in Britain
1944: Rescue workers searching through the rubble of a block of flats destroyed by German raids in London
1944: Bomb damaged buildings in London's Pall Mall after an air raid
1945: British officers liberated by the 9th Army from Brunswick Oflag 79, the largest British officers' camp in Germany
1945: Essex-class fleet carrier USS Franklin after suffering a hit by a Japanese dive-bomber off Japan, during war in the Pacific
1945: The scene in Farringdon Road, London, after a V-2 rocket had fallen in daylight on the Central Markets
1945: VE day, held to commemorate the official end of Britain's involvement in World War II, is celebrated by crowds at Trafalgar Square in London
1945: Soldiers from the Women's Royal Army Corps in their service vehicle, driving through Trafalgar Square during the VE Day celebrations in London
'But then the Germans had orders from Hitler that there was to be an evacuation of occupied Poland back into Germany with the British PoWs.
'When we left, we were marching along not knowing where we were going – and I don’t really think the Germans knew either.'Reuse content