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News Archive > General > World War II code breaker celebrates 100th birthday

World War II code breaker celebrates 100th birthday

By Natasha Swift 9th August 2017

World War II code breaker celebrates 100th birthday
George celebrates with the deputy mayor

HE MIGHT have been a Second World War codebreaker but George Aston is keeping no secret about the key to his long life after turning 100.

The lively centenarian from Bethel celebrated his 100th birthday on Thursday and put reaching the milestone down to walking every day.

Surrounded by gifts and cards, including one from the Queen, George - who wore an L plate around his neck to mark the occasion - saw in a century with family and friends at the Porth Avallen Hotel in Carlyon Bay.

George, who lives in Chapel Fields, was born in Sherborne, Dorset, and is the eldest of four with two younger brothers and a sister.

George’s youngest brother Gordon was killed in action in America.

While we was walking across a pelican crossing he was struck by a car.

His brother Wilfred spent all his life in Canada where he died.

George’s sister, who is 96, lives in Southampton.

He met and married Edith in 1936 and the couple had a son Andre.

George was conscripted in early 1940 at the age of 22 and carried out his service with the Intelligence Corps in Burma.

He was recruited at Bletchley Park - the central site for British code breakers during World War II - and completed his training at a secret station in Abbottabad.

During the war George was tasked with cracking the Japanese morse code.

He told the Voice: “My family knew nothing about it. They had no idea what I was doing. I was out there for years. I left in 1942 and came home in 1946. In intelligence you cannot come back home until someone else takes your position.

“It was an amazing desolate place.”

After the war, George spent the rest of his working life at Western Aircraft.

His wife Edith died in 1978. Following her death, George would visit the Scilly Isles every other weekend to get away and it was there that he met his second wife, Betty.

The pair got married at Charlestown Church in 1982.

George said the key to a long life was exercise. He told the Voice: “I have had a wonderful life and that is the secret of it. From the age of four I used to walk a mile and a half every day to primary school.

“I used to smoke 50 cigarettes a day when I was in training.

“I had to learn the Japanese morse code which wasn’t easy.

“We have symbols for 26 letters of the alphabet but the Japanese have 51 symbols. Most the time I’d let the cigarettes burn out on the desk.

“Exercise and looking after each other is the key and it is as simple as that. In this country at the moment if a man wants a drink he will get in his car and drive and the pub could only be a quarter of a mile away but he won’t walk.

“Walking is the only thing that regulates the system and that is the secret.”

By Natasha Swift 9th August 2017

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