Former Army batman from South Ham celebrates his 100th birthday

William Joyce celebrates his 100th birthday with family and friends

William Joyce celebrates his 100th birthday with family and friends Buy this photo

First published in News by , Senior Reporter

FIVE generations came together to celebrate the 100th birthday of a former Army batman.

William Joyce, of Stag Hill, South Ham, Basingstoke, celebrated the magnificent milestone with 30 members of his large family by taking tea at Audleys Wood hotel, off the A339.

The 100-year-old moved to Basingstoke from Bury St Edmonds in Suffolk with his wife Peggy seven years ago, to be closer to one of his four children, Valerie Joyce.

Plenty of his family turned up to the hotel to help him celebrate although sadly the milestone was marked without his wife of 74 years, who died last year.

In all, Mr Joyce has four children, five grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter, 18-month-old Amelia Brookman.

Among the guests was his son Ronald who flew in from his home near New York, in the United States, for the party.

The 73-year-old said: “I think my father is an unsung hero.

“He was in the services for four years and had to leave his wife and two children behind, but never really talked about it. He also has a wonderful sense of humour, even now.”

Mr Joyce was born in London in 1913 but spent much of his childhood in Winchester, where his parents owned a fish and chip shop.

He joined the Army in 1940 at the age of 27 and as a batman, was effectively a personal servant to high-ranking personnel. He was stationed in Egypt, Malta, and Sicily.

After the Second World War, he helped with the family’s fish stall in Billingsgate Market, in London, before becoming a postman.

Valerie, 63, from Popley, said of the party: “He did enjoy it. His face was beaming when he saw all his relatives.”

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