World War II veteran Dennis Warner marked his 100th birthday in Cambridge recently with several special celebrations.
A mid-morning ride in a stylish vintage car was followed by a birthday party attended by members of his family, friends and co-residents of Raeburn Rest Home, and local Returned Services Association (RSA) secretary, Nelson Goodley.
The event was awash with cake and refreshments, as well as a display of several centenary birthday greetings, including cards from Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Six of Dennis’ family members flew in from Sydney for the occasion and were joined by two other family members based in Hamilton.
Born in South London in 1918, Dennis migrated with his family to New Zealand in 1928.
Nelson Goodley’s presence acknowledged Dennis’ extensive WWII experiences, which saw him serve in Africa, Palestine, Greece and Crete. He enlisted for service at the outbreak of WWII in 1939, serving with the New Zealand 5th Field Park Company Engineers until the war ended in 1945.
Many of the details around his war service have faded into memory, but his son – also Dennis Warner – recalls earlier tales of how his father escaped Crete on the last boat to leave the island.
Once WWII ended, Dennis returned to New Zealand. He has two children, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.