Published: 06:00, 17 October 2020
One of the last surviving veterans of the Burma campaign is celebrating his 100th birthday.
Bombardier Eddie Rose, who has lived in Medway all his life, is marking his century despite slightly more unusual circumstances than he had hoped.
The great-grandfather says it is "very nice" to celebrate turning 100 and never expected he would even though his plans for a big party with family have been cancelled by the pandemic.
Eddie is thought to be the sole survivor from Medway of the Burma campaign when Commonwealth troops were involved in bitter fighting against the Japanese in the jungles of the Far East. It was the same theatre of war and army which Colonel Sir Tom Moore served in.
He joined the Territorial Army aged 15 before joining the army aged 18 and was stationed at Borstal, Cliffe and Hoo before moving to Manston where he was an anti-aircraft gunner.
He was in the 308 Battery 56 Regiment Royal Artillery and also served as a physical training instructor making sure his comrades were in fighting shape.
Eddie was stationed in Nigeria where he trained African troops to fight alongside the British in the jungles of the Far East which he said was "terrible". He returned home after the war fighting dysentery and malaria.
The secret to his long and happy life has been keeping active as much as possible. He was a keen gardener throughout his life keeping an allotment and he was also a keen footballer even playing professionally before the war.
Daughter Pat Bridges says although he's slower than he used to be, he still walks by himself and is able to do things for himself at home.
"He's always been fit and worked hard," Pat said. "It's nice he's still able to do things for himself.
"He's a very quiet person and always has been but it's great that he still remembers everybody.
"It's great to have your dad in your life all this time. Not many people have them as long as I have. He's a really great dad, very gentle and kind and never raised his voice or hand."
The family planned to have a big meal with 25 people before the pandemic struck so he is due to have visitors come to see him at home throughout the day instead.
Eddie was born at the old All Saints' Hospital in Chatham on October 17, 1920. The family of six and lived in Rochester Avenue and Castle Avenue in Rochester when he was growing up.
He attended Troy Town School and left aged 14 to work as a decorator with Holder and Son before joining the army.
After the war he met Hilda Diprose and the couple were married for more than 60 years until she passed away in 2015. Hilda's parents ran a fish and chip shop in Cossack Street.
The couple lived in Rochester throughout their married life and Eddie worked at the Aylesford Paper Mills and as a caretaker at Borstal Infants' School.
He has two grandchildren Lisa and Gary – and four great-grandchildren – Cerella, Sam, Ethan and Rhys.