Ex-Spitfire pilot celebrates his 101st birthday

Staff at a care home in North Shropshire have hosted a special birthday celebration for an ex-RAF pilot who has turned 101.

Former RAF pilot Charles Hastings-Winch who celebrated his 101st birthday at Elmhurst Care Home in Whitchurch
Former RAF pilot Charles Hastings-Winch who celebrated his 101st birthday at Elmhurst Care Home in Whitchurch

Charles Hastings-Winch celebrated his birthday on Tuesday, surrounded by friends, family and staff at Elmhurst Care Home in Whitchurch.

Charles spent a large portion of his career as a pilot in the RAF and has flown Hurricanes, Spitfires, Tomahawks, Kittihawks and Vultee Vengeance.

The team at Elmhurst Care Home threw Charles a very special party, with a visit from a member of RAF Cosford.

Charles with care home staff, family and Paula Covacs and Steve Haines from RAF Museum Midlands

Following in his father's footsteps, Charles, who was the youngest of three siblings, joined the RAF as a Halton Apprentice when he was around 15.

By 1941 he had successfully completed his technical training and was keen to become a pilot, journeying to South Africa for training just one year later.

After successfully completing his training, Charles was posted to India and Burma where his job was to fly new aircraft up to the front line stations and return with damaged ones.

In 1945, Charles returned to England after he drank some unsafe water and contracted typhoid fever, for which the doctor prescribed him a diet of Guinness and champagne.

Charles Hastings-Winch at Elmhurst Care Home

He renewed his friendship with Dorothy Robinson, whom he had met at a dance at Sealand, and they married at All Saints Church in Hoole in 1946.

The couple had a child together in 1947, their son Godfrey, and after moving to various air force stations for three or four years, they decided to settle in Hoole.

Charles retired from the RAF in 1956 to join the Civil Aviation Authority, where he was based at air traffic centres, including Birmingham, Preston, Manchester Ringway and West Drayton, finally retiring in 1981.

Dorothy and Charles returned to the Chester area in 1982 where they enjoyed their retirement together until Dorothy died in 2004.

Charles remained in his own home until just after his 100th birthday last year, when he decided to move into Elmhurst Care Home.

Lynn Jordan who works at Elmhurst Care Home said: "We're just hoping it's his best birthday ever and we are going all out to make it as such. That's what the Home is all about."

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