RCAF veteran Albert Middleton turns 108

Albert Middleton turns 108

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer — When a Second World War veteran and former Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) maintenance crew member was asked about his secret to living a long healthy life, his words were few but to the point. “Never give in, keep moving, keep going forward,” Albert Middleton said. “Also, don’t smoke – it’s bad for you.”

The party-goers inside the Oak Room at Victoria’s Veterans Memorial Lodge, a Broadmead Care Home, raised a toast to Middleton’s good health and longevity as he, one of Canada’s oldest military veterans, celebrated his 108th birthday on March 11.

The occasion gave many attending time to reflect on his remarkable life and longevity.

When Middleton was born in England in 1915, Sir Robert Borden was Prime Minister of Canada, the Panama Canal had just been built, the Spanish flu pandemic had yet to sweep the globe, and a new technology called ‘radio’ was still in its infancy.

Middleton arrived in Toronto in 1929 as a war orphan when he was 14. His ‘never give up’ attitude helped him make his way through the Great Depression, the war years, and life, says his daughter Darlene Van Raay.

Van Raay says he always told her you need only three things for happiness: something to do, something to look forward to, and someone to love.

“That pretty much sums it all up,” she said.

In 1943, at the height of the Second World War, Middleton enlisted in the Air Force.

On Sept. 21, 1943, he joined the RCAF as a General Serviceman. Initially stationed in Lachine, Que., he was then sent to England where he served for most of the war.

After the war, he continued his military service as an Air Force Reservist and later worked as a security guard while also operating a 65-acre hobby farm near Brantford, Ont., which he purchased in 1956.

Much later in life, Middleton returned to England and lived there for more than 20 years. At 90, he returned to Canada and for many years kept an apartment across from Beacon Hill Park in Victoria. He moved into Veterans Memorial Lodge in 2016.

Albert Middleton turns 108.

Albert Middleton, Second World War veteran and former Royal Canadian Air Force maintenace crew member.

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