Veteran told he had three months to live after World War II celebrates his 100th birthday

 

Every 100th birthday is a cause for celebration, but even more so when you are a war veteran who has cheated death.

Percy Norton, who turns 100 on Friday, was given just three months to live when he returned from the Second World War with serious injuries. 

But the former butcher, from East Tuddenham in Norfolk, beat the odds to celebrate his centenary with a card from the Queen.

“It’s an achievement – not everybody gets a card from the Queen,” he said.

Mr Norton earned himself the nickname ‘Percy the Resurrection’ after overcoming injuries inflicted in a shell blast to his abdomen, spleen and lungs.

The King’s Lynn-born soldier spent 13 months in hospital and was left with only a partial lung.

It wasn’t until he returned to the same hospital in 1945, some 18 months later, that  he realised how lucky he had been.

Mr Norton told the Norfolk Eastern Daily Press: “I remember when I went to see the matron at the hospital, I went to the door and the nurse came. I said ‘get me the matron please’ and the matron came.

“She stood there as if she had seen a ghost and said: ‘Percy the resurrection’ and told me how they had sent me home with three months to live. They couldn’t tell me at the time.

“But I’ve had a very good life. I’ve had a very enjoyable life, apart from the 13 months in hospital.”

Mr Norton lost his wife, Ellen, in 1991 with whom he had two daughters: Marilyn, 58, and Angela, 66.

The centenarian, who took a trip on Concorde before it was retired and was still driving up until six years ago, puts his long life down to keeping fit.

“I used to go in for nearly every sport there was – running, cycling, cross-country. I would cycle to Holt, North Walsham and I used to hold the record for cycling up one of the hills at Ringland Hills,” he said. “I’ve always been fit. I’ve been fit all my life, I’ve always been one for sport and exercise; every sort of sport and getting in the gym. I put my long life down to hard work, healthy life and healthy diet.“

Mr Norton and Marilyn also go to dog shows up and down the country. They have nine dachshunds and have qualified for Crufts every year since Mr Norton and his late wife started to enter and have won a number of rosettes, including Best of Breed in 2012.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
wimbledonScot will face Ivo Karlovic next
Sport
football
News
Hillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test