MP wishes WWII hero a happy 100th birthday
Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert paid a special visit to a Cowfold resident on Friday (13 January) to wish him a happy 100th birthday.
The MP called in on Squadron Leader Bill Lucas who celebrates his 100th birthday today (Monday 16 January). Bill and his wife Sheena, who have lived in Cowfold for 38 years, are planning a busy week of celebrations for the special event.
Bill is a decorated member of the Bomber Command and flew on many missions during World War Two, notably the 1,000 bomber raid on Cologne in 1942. His final missions were with the Pathfinder Force in 162 Squadron where he was promoted to the rank of Squadron Leader and remained until the end of the war.
Bill flew a total of 81 missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) with a mention in dispatches.
In 1940 Bill was selected to compete in the Helsinki Olympics representing Great Britain in the 5,000 metre race. He had every chance of earning a gold medal but the war meant that the Games did not go ahead that year or in 1944.
Bill finally got his chance to compete in 1948, but by then he was past his peak and unable to clinch a much-wanted Olympic medal. Today Bill is Britain’s oldest living Olympian.
Bill was an active member of a fundraising committee for the installation and upkeep of the Bomber Command memorial in Green Park. The memorial was unveiled by The Queen in 2012 and is dedicated to the 55,573 airmen of Bomber Command who died during World War Two.
Mr Herbert said: “I am sure that many people will join me in wishing Bill Lucas a very happy 100th birthday. He is a remarkable man who gave great service to his country, competed in the Olympics, and has led a full and active life in subsequent decades.
“It was a privilege to visit Bill and Sheena, and I hope that they have a wonderful week of celebrations”.
1. Photograph: Nick Herbert MP with Squadron Leader W E (Bill) Lucas DFC.
2. The RAF Benevolent Fund is the official guardian of the Bomber Command Memorial, which stands as a tribute to the 55,573 Bomber Command crew who lost their lives in the Second World War. It is their aim to preserve the memorial for future generations so that the sacrifice of those who lost their lives in Bomber Command will always be remembered. Those who wish to find out more, or donate, should visit https://www.rafbf.org/bomber-command-memorial.