Second World War veteran granted life-long wish celebrates turning 100
PUBLISHED: 13:49 11 April 2019 | UPDATED: 16:51 11 April 2019
Macdonald Images 2019
Cutting a dash in the bright red colours of his regiment, a Second World War veteran was treated to a guard of honour by family and friends as he celebrated his 100th birthday.
When Leonard Boxall enlisted in 1939, he was drawn to the Grenadier Guards because he liked the red uniform and bearskin ceremonial hat, which date back to the 17th century.
During his service he only got to wear fatigues but always wanted the opportunity to wear the ceremonial dress.
Ahead of his landmark birthday Mr Boxall got his wish, courtesy of Steve Hayes and Terry McLenahan of the Norfolk branch of the Regimental Association of The Grenadier Guards.
And on Saturday, April 6, his birthday cake featured the Grenadier Guards colours, and he received a card from the Queen and a telegram from Amber Rudd, secretary of state for work and pensions.
Mr Boxall, of Linden Court, Watton, celebrated his centenary with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
At the end of the celebrations, he gave a thank you speech to his family where he told his grandchildren and great-grandchildren that war is a “pointless and unnecessary evil” and that future conflicts can easily be avoided by world leaders getting together and talking of peace and co-operation.
When he first enlisted, Mr Boxall worked at Windsor Castle, where he remembers the Queen as a young girl.
When the war started, he was sent to the front line and was captured in Italy two years before the war ended, spending the remainder of the conflict in a German Prisoner of War camp.
Mr Boxall, who is originally from West Sussex but moved to Norfolk to be near his daughter in East Tuddenham, said that it was not all bad, and remembers learning to dance.
He was married to Nora Abbott, who died in 2018, for 77 years.