Milnrow World War Two veteran celebrates 100th birthday

Date published: 18 April 2023

A World War Two veteran from Milnrow celebrated his 100th birthday on Saturday 8 April.

Bernard Munton celebrated his big day with family, friends, and ex-service personnel at Butterworth Hall where he had a “lovely afternoon.”

He had a guard of honour from fellow veterans, a Scottish piper and a visit from the Rochdale Mayor along with friends, family and neighbours.

Bernard had a military career serving with the Army during World War Two from 1942 to 1947.

He joined at the age of 18 after receiving his call up notification and was instructed to report to Squires Gate, Blackpool for his basic military training and was enlisted into the Royal Corps of Signals.

Following his basic training he was sent to a former girls’ school in Putney, London where he was trained as a wireless operator and to learn how to send/receive Morse Code.

From 1943, he served in South Africa, India, Iraq, Persia, Syria, Palestine, Egypt and The War Office in London.


Bernard Munton celebrated his 100th birthday


Bernard was part of the military PAI Force, operating in Northern Persia (now known as Iran). The Force comprised of 12 members of the Royal Corps of Signals along with approximately 2,000 British other ranks and mostly Indian soldiers.

Bernard described living in tents in the Persian desert as a ‘horrible place’ with little in the way of sanitation, extreme heat in the summer and thick snow in the winter.

In his role as a wireless operator, Bernard was responsible for sending/receiving coded messages around the world and directly to the War Office in London.

In March 1947 Bernard finally left the Army and he was married the following month to his sweetheart Gladys, whom he had been courting since enlisting.

They were married for 72 years before Gladys sadly passed away in June 2017.

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