A MAN who served on the Second World War battlefronts has celebrated his 100th birthday.

Jim Hammond – a member of St Mark’s Church, at Utley – joined-up with the Royal Engineers when he was 20, seeing action in Tunisia and Italy.

Before the conflict he had started work – aged 14 – as an apprentice carpenter, a trade he returned to post-war.

But during his military service he had been introduced to religion by an army friend, and he subsequently took-up an invitation to leave his job and enter the ministry full-time – after studying at a Nottingham college.

“I took on a rundown church in London and enjoyed 21 years of God-blessed ministry there – retiring at the age of 70 from a spiritually-strong and prosperous church,” said Mr Hammond.

“It was during this ministry that my first wife Mary died, which was a big blow to my daughter Jean and myself.

“Four years later I married Carol and, as with Mary, we have served the Lord together.”

He thanked everyone who had sent him cards and good wishes on his milestone birthday.