A war veteran has less than a week for his passport to be returned after he applied for a new one a month ago – otherwise he will miss a trip to The Netherlands for Dutch Liberation Day.
Peter Smoothy is one of the Second World War veterans due to go abroad on Monday, May 2.
The 97-year-old sent his application to the Passport Office on April 1 but according to the online tracker it was only logged on April 26.
Mr Smoothy, from Herne Bay, recently had a fall and spent 12 weeks in hospital before being discharged to a care home.
He is now back home and the trip, which has been organised by The Taxi Charity, is exactly what he needs after the isolation of the pandemic and his time recuperating, said Dick Goodwin, vice president of the organisation.
Mr Goodwin added: "We are just very desperate to get him his passport. We are really keen to get it for Peter it even if we have to drive or get a train to the other side of the country.
"I know it will do him some good, he will be treated like royalty. It would be such a shame if he cannot go."
The group is heading to The Netherlands for Dutch Liberation Day which is celebrated each year marking the end of the Nazi occupation during the Second World War.
A charity spokesman added: "As the veterans always say, ‘No one asked us for our passports in 1944'."
The charity is run by volunteer London black taxi drivers and arranges free trips to The Netherlands, Belgium and France for acts of commemoration and days out to museums, concerts, or fundraising events in the UK, to catch up with friends and comrades.
Mr Smoothy is just one of thousands of people experiencing long delays in passport applications.
Boris Johnson has threatened to “privatise the arse” out of the Passport Office if it cannot clear its backlog and deliver better value for money, a senior Government source has said.
The Prime Minister is understood to be “horrified” at the backlog and will summon the agency’s leadership for urgent talks at No 10 tomorrow.
Although not speaking specifically on this case, a HM Passport Office spokesman said: “Since April 2021, we have been advising people to allow up to 10 weeks when applying for their British passport as more than 5 million people delayed applying due to the pandemic.
"We urge people who need a new passport to apply for one as soon as possible, with the vast majority of all passports applications are being dealt with well within 10 weeks.
"To deal with this demand, we have increased staff numbers by 500 since April 2021.
"This has helped us to handle more applications than ever before, with more than one million passport applications processed in March 2022.
"The passport advice line is being delivered by Teleperformance which is in the process of recruiting additional staff to better service customer queries.”