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Waved Off to War by a Princess, Alfred Celebrates 100th Birthday With Message From a Queen

Peebles Care Home resident Alfred Goddard has received a birthday message from a Queen who 78 years ago waved him off to war as a Princess.

Alfred celebrated his 100th birthday on Thursday (3 March) at Mansfield Care’s Peebles Care home, and was delighted to receive the traditional congratulatory letter from Her Majesty, The Queen, marking his landmark occasion.

In June 1944, Alfred was a 22-year-old Tank Commander who, having volunteered for Special Operations with the 6th Airborne Division, was landed behind enemy lines as part of the D Day landings.

Waving him and his tank crew off that day and wishing them “God Speed” at RAF Tarrant Rushton in Dorset was the sender of his centenary letter, a young Princess Elizabeth.

Alfred’s son Mike said: “One hundred years after his birth, my dad enjoyed his second royal good wishes when he opened his personal message from that very same member of the Royal Family, not now a Princess but Queen Elizabeth II, congratulating him on his centenary.”

Badly wounded in action when a shell exploded near his Tetrach Light Tank, Alfred recovered from his injuries at Manchester Royal Infirmary, and pledged that at the end of the war he would return to marry one of the nurses who cared for him with skill and compassion during his darkest days.

For his actions following D Day, Alfred was later awarded the Chevalier (Knight) in the Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur by the French Consul General to Scotland at his home in Biggar in 2016.

His next active duty was as part of Operation Market Garden at Arnhem – of A Bridge Too Far fame – where he suffered a perforated eardrum, but fortunately he survived the remainder of active service without further injury.

Mike, 72, said: “His children, grandchildren and great grandchildren have sent their love and messages from all over the UK and abroad and we are all very proud of him.”

Karen Ritchie, Activities Coordinator at Peebles Care Home, said: “We are honoured to be sharing in Alfred’s 100th birthday celebrations and to welcome his family on this auspicious occasion. He certainly has enjoyed a century filled with adventure, bravery and wonderful family memories.”