Second World War RAF veteran from Ipswich marks his 101st birthday
PUBLISHED: 20:04 20 November 2017 | UPDATED: 20:04 20 November 2017
A Suffolk Spitfire veteran has celebrated reaching his 101st birthday.
Stanley Chambers was born in Ipswich in November 1916, and has spent much of his life living in the town.
At the time of his birth Britain was in the midst of war, with Ipswich itself a target of Zeppelin raids on the docks.
In was in the next war, however, that Stanley would come to find his place.
Stanley ended up spending 20 years of his life in the RAF.
He first joined the medical branch of the service in 1937 at RAF Feltwell in Norfolk, but quickly found his role changing as peacetime turned to war.
As time went on Stanley became a master pilot and helped others to learn the art of flying.
He also saw action during the war when he supported squadrons at the D-Day landings on June 6, 1944.
His efforts patrolling the coast and escorting bombers across to France that night would see him honoured over 70 years later.
Last year Stanley was one of six Ipswich war veterans to be given the Légion d’honneur, the highest honour in France for the part he played that night.
Stanley returned to Ipswich after leaving the RAF but he did not stay out of the armed services for long, citing boredom in civilian life, and re-enlisted – this time with the Navy aged 51.
He spent 14 years with the Navy eventually retiring at the age of 65 in 1981.
Despite being less sprightly on his feet than he once was, Stanley made the most of his centenary with a special visit to the Martlesham Heath Aviation Society and Control Tower Museum last year.
As part of the day of celebrations arranged at the centre Stanley was presented with the gift of a print by air commodore Mike Bettell.
The visit was made all the more poignant by the fact that the former base was one that Stanley had known well, having flown a high-ranking officer down to the base back in the 1960s.
As well as the visit to Martlesham Stanley was also visited by the then Ipswich mayor, Roger Fern, to mark his birthday, regaling stories of his life in the RAF to the high profile visitor.
This year’s celebrations were a little more low key with Stanley marking this latest milestone at home rather than with a large party.