Veteran of council and war turns 100

Alf Barker with his son Mike and daughter Olwen. Picture by Jim Harland
Alf Barker with his son Mike and daughter Olwen. Picture by Jim Harland

A former commando who served at Dunkirk and D-Day during the Second World War, celebrated his 100th birthday last week.

As well as a veteran, Alf Barker was the former deputy town clerk of Blyth Borough Council.

Alf Barker with Warrant Officer Tam Watson from Catterick Camp at his birthday party. Picture by Jim Harland

Alf Barker with Warrant Officer Tam Watson from Catterick Camp at his birthday party. Picture by Jim Harland

And to mark his birthday a party was held in his honour.

A widower now living in retirement in Seaton Sluice, Alf moved to Blyth from Manchester in 1959 to become deputy town clerk.

It was a position he held until 1974 when the local authority was amalgamated with Seaton Valley Urban Council to become Blyth Valley Borough Council.

Alf then took on the newly created post of borough secretary for the next 12 years until his retirement in 1986.

During the Second World War he served as a commando and was one of the thousands rescued from Dunkirk in 1940.

He returned to France four years later to take part in the D-Day landings.

Last Thursday lunchtime a surprise birthday party was held at the Melton Constable, Seaton Sluice, attended by more than 40 friends and family.

The guests included his son, Mike, 68, who came from Canada, and daughter Olwen, who is 70 and now living in Cornwall.

A surprise guest was Warrant Officer Tam Watson, from Catterick Camp, representing the Army Commando Veterans’ Association.

He presented Alf with his birthday card from the Queen to mark the occasion.

Not only is Alf the last surviving commando who fought in the Second World War, he is also the last surviving official from the old Blyth Borough Council.