The family of one of the “forgotten heroes of Dunkirk” asks the public for help to celebrate his 100th birthday.
Eric Taylor’s relatives had planned a large party to mark the milestone, but had to cancel it due to the coronavirus pandemic.
They still hope to make the day special and have organized two “drive-by” sessions where Eric will be standing at the doorstep for well-wishers.
And they also asked people around the world to send cards to Eric to share their memories and show their appreciation.
Eric, 99, from Helston, Cornwall, was only 19 when he was captured with the Royal Norfolk Regiment in France while defending the escape route in Dunkirk.
His regiment broke away from those who were evacuated and joined the 51st Highland Division in Scotland and when they were pushed back to the coast at St. Valery en Caux.
A week after Dunkirk, the French forces surrendered and the remaining forces were captured and taken prisoner of war.
Eric was then marched to Poland and spent five years as a German prisoner of war before being released in 1945.
He later received the British Empire Medal for his services and was featured in the Channel 4 documentary Dunkirk – The Forgotten Heroes, which was recently shown again on television on the occasion of Dunkirk’s 80th anniversary.
The veteran later became the legend of the St. Keverne Brass Band, started playing in B flat major in 1950 and has led the training band in recent years and has taught hundreds of children.
His son Bruce said, “Of course, Eric’s original birthday plans were canceled due to coronavirus, but we still want to celebrate his birthday and invite everyone for a special birthday walk or drive past.
“Eric will be at the front of his house when someone wants to walk or drive past his home in Church Hill, Helston.
“We encourage the decoration of cars, the beeping of horns and other original and extraordinary acts of fun and celebration from the safety of your vehicles and from the two meters high social distance for those who walk.
“Government policies are unlikely to change significantly in the next few days, but even if they do, the wellbeing and health of Eric and all of you are paramount and we have no doubt that everyone will appreciate and respect this.
“We also invite everyone to send Eric a birthday card and get Eric’s address. Please contact me or his grandson Sean.
“Please make the message as personal as possible and we’d love to see photos and stories about the times you’ve spent and sharing with Eric over the years. If you happen to come across Eric’s home address at any time of the day, it will be the case.” a ‘mailbox’ in his front yard, so don’t hesitate to drop it there.
“Gifts and presents are not necessary because Eric wants nothing more than the presence of the people he has known and loved throughout his life to share his 100th birthday with him, especially under the current circumstances.
“This is a very special opportunity for all of us to show Eric how much he means to us and to celebrate a very special moment with him on his 100th birthday.”
Eric will be outside his home on Tuesday, June 23, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
He was supposed to attend VE Day celebrations in London and a garden party at Buckingham Palace, but both were canceled due to the closure.