Birthday salute for old soldier as Tony turns 103
- Credit: Archant
Former tank commander Tony Pyatt - older than the unit he once served with - had a special surprise when members of his old regiment turned up to help him celebrate a big birthday.
Tony Pyatt celebrated his 103rd birthday with a visit from serving and former members of the Royal Tank Regiment, with which he served in World War II.
"We were informed on Facebook by another military person that it was his birthday," said Captain (Retd.) Dean Hutton.
"So I organised for a party of serving and retired soldiers to come and see Tony.
"We are family and Tony is part of that."
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Mr Pyatt joined the Royal Tank Regiment not long after the outbreak of the Second World War, rising to the rank of lieutenant.
His military career brought him to Suffolk, in particular Glevering Hall, near Wickham Market, and Orwell Park, where tanks were waterproofed before being sent away for the D-Day landings in 1944.
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When D-Day did come around Mr Pyatt was a signals officer in charge of communications and landed on the beachhead at Gold Beach.
Thankfully, he was never injured in the war and was later made a Chevalier of the Order of Légion d'Honneur by the French government for helping to liberate France. Years after the war Mr Pyatt moved back to Suffolk and worked for the Evening Star, now the Ipswich Star, where he eventually became editor.
In his time he covered a number of important stories in the area including Ipswich Town's FA Cup win before retiring to work with trainee reporters with the National Council for the Training of Journalists.
He now lives in Grove Court Care Home in Woodbridge and has written memoirs about his life.
To celebrate his birthday Mr Pyatt was presented with a number of military gifts by the visiting servicemen including a special embroidered cushion, cuff links and a tie pin.
"He was over the moon," said Captain Hutton.
He believes that Mr Pyatt is the oldest living former soldier from the regiment.
"I have seen a couple of 100-year-olds this year," said Captain Hutton.
"But Tony is two years older than the regiment, which was formed during the First World War."