D-Day Pilot Celebrated Turning 102 Attributing Longevity to ‘Art, Music, Good Food and the Finest Wine’
A D-Day pilot celebrated turning 102, and attributes his longevity partly to a love of fine wine, among other pleasures.
Harry Gamper, who turned 102 on July 20th, missed his 100th birthday party due to lockdown, but made sure he had double the fun this year.
War hero and father of two, Harry served as an RAF pilot in World War II and won medals for his service in France and Germany including a Battle of Atlantic medal.
During his time in the RAF, Harry completed over 1,000 hours of flying time, taking the reins of Warwicks, Wellingtons and Catalina flying boats, and left the air force in 1946.
Harry had an Italian-themed birthday party, in memory of his late wife, Annalisa, who he enjoyed sun-soaked holidays in Italy with.
“Life is beautiful, and I’ve always lived it to the full,” Harry said. “I love art, music, good food and the finest wine. All of these things, and the people around you are what matter most in life.”
“I looked forward to my Italian feast and maybe a sing-along to some traditional Italian music.”
He was born in Surrey on July 20th 1920. The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest military action during the war, and last from 1939 right up to the final months in 1945, during which time 175 RAF fighters were shot down in anti-submarine sorties.
After retiring, Harry moved to a cottage in the village of Straiton, Ayrshire in the late 2000s, where he took up gardening and enjoyed the proximity to the coast.
Harry described his D-Day memories as “incredible, I’ll never forget it.”
“For a whole week before D-Day, nobody was allowed off the aerodrome. So, something big was going to happen,” he said. “The [English] Channel was extraordinary – I think you could have almost walked across the Channel because every boat was going across it.”