Celebrating 104 incredible years

Fred pictured on his 104th birthday on Tuesday
Fred pictured on his 104th birthday on Tuesday

A Bexhill man celebrated his 104th birthday this week.

Fred Hermon, of Sutton Palace, marked the milestone on Tuesday, May 1.

Fred first started working in 1928 when he was only 14 years old.

He said: “I made 15 shillings a week when I started, but I complained about it until it was 21 shillings.”

Fred was also in the Second World War and was deployed to Madagascar in 1940 as part of the Royal Signals, where he was in charge of communications.

He spoke about one of his memories of the Silverbeck Hotel in Kenya while he was looking through his album of photos. He said: “That hotel was located precisely on the Equator. You could have a drink and have one foot in the Northern Hemisphere and the other in the Southern Hemisphere!”

In the photo album, Fred showed us pictures of himself while he was in Kenya, Uganda and Madagascar. He explained that he managed to keep getting a wage from his place of work even while he was deployed in Africa.

He said: “Firms had to keep you on during the war and pay you an allowance. My wife got £1 a week, which was silly money but it was better than most at the time.”

Fred was married to his wife Elizabeth for exactly 60 years. She had Alzheimer’s and he took care of her for seven years before she passed away.

Fred has one son, two grand children, both boys, and five great grandchildren – four girls and one boy.

When asked about his hobbies today, he jokingly replied: “What can I do? I am confined to the barracks!

“I was mobile up until about three years ago but it got difficult because my legs startedto give up .

“I used to run a dance band. It was a six-piece band and we had gigs around south Croydon and the London area where I played the saxophone and the trumpet.

“We started before the war, we continued it afterwards but eventually we got too old.”

Fred, who has lived in Bexhill for 18 years, shared his tips for reaching the grand age of 104. He said: ”Two pints of bitter every day, keep walking, keep your brain active, restrict your meals and don’t overeat.

“If you don’t enjoy your life, it’s not worth it, all the memories you have keep you going. I’ve had an interesting life and a lucky war.”

Written by Kieran McGinley