The family of one of the ‘forgotten heroes of Dunkirk’ are appealing for help from the public to celebrate his 100th birthday.
Eric Taylor’s relatives had planned a huge party to mark the milestone but have had to cancel it because of the coronavirus pandemic.
They still hoping to make the day special and have organised two “drive-by” sessions where Eric will stand at his front door for well-wishers.
And they have also issued a plea for people across the world to send cards to Eric to share their memories and show their appreciation.
Eric, 99, of Helston, Cornwall , was just 19 when he was captured in France with the Royal Norfolk Regiment, while defending the get-away at Dunkirk.
His regiment became detached from those who were evacuated and joined the Scottish 51st Highland Division and as they were pushed back to the coast at St Valery en Caux.
A week after Dunkirk, the French forces surrendered and the remaining forces were captured and became prisoners of war.
Eric was then marched to Poland and spent five years as a German prisoner of war, before being released in 1945.
He was later awarded the British Empire Medal for his services and featured in the Channel 4 documentary Dunkirk – The Forgotten Heroes, which was recently shown again on TV to mark the 80th anniversary of Dunkirk.
The veteran went on to become a St Keverne Brass Band legend, playing the B-flat bass from 1950 onwards and in more recent years conducting the training band and teaching hundreds of children.
His son Bruce said: “Naturally, the original birthday plans for Eric were cancelled due to coronavirus, but we are still looking to celebrate his birthday and invite everyone to a special birthday walk or drive-by.
“Eric will be at the front of his house for anyone who wishes to walk or drive by his home in Church Hill, Helston.
“We encourage the decoration of cars, the beeping of horns and any other original and extraordinary acts of fun and celebration from the safety of your vehicles and at the two-metre social distancing for those who are walking.
“It is unlikely that the guidelines from the government will change much over the next few days, but even if they do, the welfare and health of Eric and you all is paramount and we have no doubt that everyone will appreciate and respect this.
“We are also inviting anyone and everyone to send Eric a birthday card and to obtain Eric’s address please contact me or his grandson Sean.
“Please make the message as personal as possible and we welcome any photos and stories of the times you may have spent and shared with Eric over the years. If by chance you are passing Eric’s home address at any time on the day, there will be a ‘post-box’ in his front garden, so feel free to drop it in there.
“Gifts and presents are not necessary as Eric wishes for nothing more than the presence of the people he has known and loved throughout his life to share his 100th birthday with him, especially so under the current circumstances.
“This is a truly special chance for us all to show Eric how much he means to us and to celebrate a very special moment with him on his 100th birthday.”
Eric will be outside of his home on Tuesday, June 23 from 2pm to 3pm and 6pm to 7pm.
He had been due to attend the VE Day celebrations in London and a Buckingham Palace garden party but both were cancelled due to the lockdown.