Wigan war hero Harry Melling celebrates 101st birthday

The family of Britain’s oldest living Second World War submariner has thanked Wiganers for helping him celebrate his 101st birthday.

Monday, 19th April 2021, 3:21 pm
Updated Monday, 19th April 2021, 3:22 pm
Harry with his great nephew Matthew

Harry Melling celebrated his incredible milestone with more than 500 cards arriving for him at Alexandra Grange Care Home.

Last year’s Covid-19 restrictions meant that Harry was unable to celebrate properly with those closest to him, but it was still a day to remember, with Harry receiving more than 700 birthday cards and a special party laid on by care home staff.

And this year, Harry has so far received a further 500 cards from well wishers, and was able to see his loved ones in person, with a small handful of visitors being allowed to meet Harry at the front doors of Alexandra Grange.

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Harry Melling on his 101st birthday

Harry’s great nephew Matthew thanked everyone who sent a birthday card.

He said: "He had a great time. Lots of family and friends came, people from the Royal Navy came. Everyone was brilliant to him. He got loads of cards from over the country. He really enjoyed it."

Matthew added: "It was a nice, sunny day, lots of people were at the door who he hadn't seen for so long because of the pandemic.

"On Saturday, I was allowed into his room for the first time, and it hit me how for 15 months, he's been confined to staying in that room. That's what it's been like for him. He's npt had it easy, but he's not complained.

Harry with great nephew Matthew

"He said he can't get up to any mischief in there!"

Harry’s service between 1939 and 1945 was remarkable, with him and the other crew members of HMS Osiris serving in the Mediterranean where they played a role in the Allied invasion of Sicily and even travelling as far as Kenya.

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Harry during the war