100-year-old former prisoner of war flying the flag for VE Day celebrations in Preston

A former prisoner of war who celebrated his 100th birthday at the end of last year is flying the flag for the VE Day 75th anniversary celebrations in Preston.

Friday, 8th May 2020, 6:00 am

Preston-born George Leslie Hall - known as Les - was captured by German soldiers at El Alamein, Egypt, in 1942, where he was fighting with the Durham Light Infantry.

He spent three-and-a-half years as a prisoner, held by the Nazis in prisoners’ camps around Europe, and ended up in Italy, where he was set free at the end of the war.

Les celebrated his 100th birthday in November with more than 70 family members and friends.

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He currently lives in sheltered accommodation on Guardian Close, Fulwood.

During the second global conflict, more than 170,000 British prisoners of war were taken by German and Italian forces.

Between 1940 and 1942, they were held in a network of prisoners’ camps stretching from Poland to Italy.

When asked what if feels like to be turning 100, George said: “I feel lucky, like a millionaire.”

George Leslie Hall celebrated his 100th birthday in November with more than 70 family members and friends.

After the war, George returned to Preston and married Peggy, with whom he had three children.

Retired daughter Norma was a secretary at Preston Town Hall for 24 years.

Son Philip is also retired.

And other son Tim, living in Portugal, was a pilot with Ryanair before losing his job as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

George had lost both his parents to TB when he was still in school, in 1932, and after the war he worked as a barber and as a bus driver in Preston until retirement.

He added: “It is very important to remember those who have given their lives for this country.”

Peggy and George had been married for more than 60 years when she died five years ago.

Norma said: “We feel very blessed to have him for so long, and he is doing really well.

“He is very independent: I cook his dinner in the evenings, but he makes his own breakfast and sandwiches for lunch."

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