World War II hero celebrates 100th birthday

JPCT 060912 100 year old Donald Picking. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 060912 100 year old Donald Picking. Photo by Derek Martin

A Storrington man who was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroic efforts in World War II, celebrated his 100th birthday last week.

Ken Painter received his medal for destroying a JU52 whilst escaping gun fire in a Beaufort fighter plane. Soon afterwards his plane was shot down and he became a prisoner of w war- ending up in the same prison camp as the one form which the Great Escape occurred.

He comes from a family of what he describes as ‘long livers’ and spent the day of his birthday at the home of his son David, where he celebrated with family.

Ken has three sons, four grandchildren and one great grandchild.

Further celebrations took place on Sunday at his own home when he had friends and helpers, including Kate Cross, his gardener for more than a decade, over to his home for further celebrations.

He received his telegram from the Queen and was delighted with it.