When Perry Manor resident, Percival Court (known as Bob), celebrated his 96th birthday on 6th May, little did he expect to receive hundreds of well wishes from complete strangers across the globe. But that’s exactly what happened, thanks to social media.
On the day, the RAF Association, the charity which supports RAF personnel and their families, posted a short piece on their Facebook feed wishing Bob, a Bomber Command veteran, a happy birthday.
The post included pictures of Bob as a younger man in his RAF uniform along with a more recent photo of Bob proudly wearing his service medals. There was also a short summary of Bob's career.
In no time at all, the post had garnered over 2,500 ‘likes’ and 314 comments from people across the world, all wishing Bob a happy birthday and thanking him for his service. The post was shared nearly 200 times.
Penny, his daughter, says, “Due to lockdown, we were unable to celebrate with Dad in person on his birthday, so the post on the RAF Association page, and all the kind comments, helped to make the day more special. The Perry Manor team also ensured he had a wonderful day. All of our family take great comfort from the excellent care he’s receiving at the home.”
A bit more about Bob…
Bob was born in Poole in Dorset in 1924 and joined the RAF in 1942, aged 18 – the earliest he could join. He trained as a flight mechanic and served at various RAF bases in England until he was posted to Burma (now Myanmar) in September 1944, where he served with 194 Squadron on casualty evacuation.
At the end of the War, the Squadron was posted to Hong Kong. Bob returned to England in January 1947.
Bob married Sylvia in 1948 and they had three children. At the age of 45 he trained to be a teacher and the family moved to Reading when he took up a post as a lecturer at Reading Technical College, where he worked until his retirement. Bob also served as welfare officer for the Burma Star Branch in Reading and volunteered with the Reading Talking News for the visually impaired.
Retirement for Bob and Sylvia was busy: they worked for two years as teachers in St Lucia for Voluntary Services Overseas. When they returned to the UK, Bob became the representative for St Lucia with the British Commonwealth ExService League (BCEL) – a role he held until 2018, when he was 94!
Happy birthday Bob!