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
Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before