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Aug 13, 2021

A war veteran, who made the North East his home, is set to celebrate his 100th birthday alongside the woman he married more than half his lifetime ago.

Ernie Aust, from London, who served in North Africa, Sicily and Italy with the RAF, moved to Tyneside in 1957 after meeting and marrying “the love of his life” – a Geordie girl – while on holiday in the Isle of Wight.

And tomorrow (4 August) he will celebrate with family and friends at Brunswick House Care Home, Newcastle, where he now lives with wife Lily.

Born on 4 August 1921 in Enfield, Ernie was the youngest of six children, although the eldest had died a few years before.

Ernie was only six years old when his father, a Police Sergeant in the Metropolitan Police, died and his mother made the difficult decision to send Ernie and his brother Charlie to live in the Metropolitan City Police Orphanage at Twickenham.

He received a good education, although he missed his home and, with support from the orphanage he managed to get a job working as a shorthand typist at a solicitors’ firm at London’s Holborn.

His career was cut short by World War 2 and after a stint with the Home Guard he joined the RAF, serving with Tactical Air Force HQ and Mediterranean Allied Air Forces HQ until the end of the war in Europe.

Following the war, he returned to the solicitors’ in Holborn and, while on holiday with friends in 1953 he met his future wife who was also on holiday with friends.

At the end of their two week holiday they knew they were going to spend the rest of their lives together, although it was a year before they were officially engaged.  Lily, who worked for the civil service, transferred to London and they married at St Michael and All Angels Church in Enfield on 2 April 1955.

In 1957 they decided to move up to Lily’s home city of Newcastle and Ernie took a job as a costs clerk with the Newcastle based solicitors Clayton & Gibson, where he remained until his retirement in 1986.

Following a party at the Prestwick Care-owned residential home, the pair will be joined by some of their three children, seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren at a private part in Ponteland at the weekend.

Ernie’s daughter Helen said: “Ernie has always loved the arts, enjoying drawing and painting, pottery, and writing and reciting poems.  Every year he has written a poem for his birthday so we’re fully expecting he’ll be writing a very special one this year.

“We’re so delighted that dad has reached this amazing milestone and that we can all get together to celebrate it.”

And Ernie’s secret to reaching his 100th birthday? “Don’t take risks, make sure you do everything right.”

By admin