Ken Hobbs and Margaret Wilson, two blind Second World War veterans, have celebrated a remarkable milestone – turning 100. The pair, who met at the Blind Veterans UK wellbeing centre in Brighton, discovered they shared the same birthday. They marked the occasion with a Zoom call on Sunday, surrounded by their family and friends.
Ken, who served during D-Day, said it ‘feels fantastic’ to turn 100 and that it was ‘amazing’ to have all his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren with him to celebrate the day. He added that it was ‘the icing on the cake’ to be able to share the day with his fellow blind veteran Margaret.
Ken joined the Royal Army Service Corps in 1942 before becoming a driver and delivering essential cargo across England. He was driving his vehicle onto Sword Beach at 7.30am on D-Day and recalls it being ‘very noisy’. After the war, he lost his left eye following an accident and went on to work as a bus driver before being diagnosed with macular degeneration later in life.
Margaret, who celebrated her 100th birthday in Nottinghamshire, said she couldn’t believe it when she found out they shared the same birthday. She joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force in 1942 and began as a wireless operator before training in vital communications and joining the codebreakers at Bletchley Park. Decades later, she lost her sight due to age-related macular degeneration.
Both Ken and Margaret have attributed their longevity to the support they have received from Blind Veterans UK, with Margaret saying she felt really low before visiting the charity’s wellbeing centre but that being there had ‘picked her up’. It is clear that Ken and Margaret’s story is an inspirational example of how age should never be a barrier to achieving great things.