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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 April 2006, 12:09 GMT 13:09 UK
Jack Maskew, 80
Jack is looking forward to spending the day with wife Dorothy
Jack Maskew from St Helens, Liverpool turns 80 on April 21. He will be spending the day with his wife and three children.

I must have had an interesting life. I didn't really think so at first, but looking back at my life, at my CV, I realise I've done a lot of things.

I've been everywhere, but I didn't get the T-shirt!

I was born in Stockport and grew up in a chip shop owned by my parents in St Helens, Liverpool.

It's strange how things stick in your mind. During the war, I remember my mother coming home, putting a parcel on the table and saying: "That's our two ounces of butter for the week".

During that time I would go up a hill with other children and watch the bombers flying over Liverpool. I remember looking out over crystal clear skies tinged with green, seeing the planes flying across and the AK AK fire in return.

That was our entertainment - if you can call it that.

After school I got onto an apprenticeship at Liverpool school of pharmacy.

Jack pictured with his parents in his army uniform, February 1949
After the war, Jack was called up by army medical services
When I was 21 I was called up by the army medical services to treat prisoners of war and returning troops.

That job was on the ships, and it was like a whole lifetime in itself. I went to many places - Hong Kong, Malta, Singapore, Colombo.

One time our whole boat was woken by gunfire. We were coming into port in Malta at six in the morning, the whole ship came to life with the sound.

But it turned out just to be a frigate giving a full gun salute. It had just been announced that Princess Elizabeth had given birth to a baby - Prince Charles.

On return, I took a position in a local chemists', where I met my dear wife Dorothy.

I got married in 1952 on 25th of October, at St Margaret's Presbyterian Church, Liverpool.

The Queen's birthday shared
Less than a year later it was the Queen's Coronation. We didn't have a TV, but my boss invited a few of us around to watch it on his 9" black and white TV.

Of course she was the same age as me, and I just couldn't imagine going through all of that. I've always admired how she's coped with everything that's she's been through.

I do think people's attitude to the Royal Family have changed. These days I think many people think they are a bit redundant. Maybe they should be put out to work!

But I've always thought the Queen has done well to cope with everything. She was never able to choose what she was going to do with her life.

We're not ones for big celebrations in my family. I usually just go with my family for a meal. And this year I hope to be with my wife and my children.


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