British Army veteran Peter Whitely 100th birthday card from Her Majesty The Queen CREDIT Royal Star & Garter
Burma veteran Capt (Ret'd) Peter Whiteley celebrating his 100th birthday at Royal Star & Garter (Picture: Royal Star & Garter).
Veterans

Burma veteran celebrates 100th birthday at Royal Star & Garter

Second World War veteran Capt (Ret'd) Peter Whiteley received a letter from the Queen.

British Army veteran Peter Whitely 100th birthday card from Her Majesty The Queen CREDIT Royal Star & Garter
Burma veteran Capt (Ret'd) Peter Whiteley celebrating his 100th birthday at Royal Star & Garter (Picture: Royal Star & Garter).

A former soldier who narrowly survived enemy attacks while serving in Burma during the Second World War has celebrated his 100th birthday.

Captain (Retired) Peter Whiteley was born in Burma, now Myanmar, on 14 June 1922 and celebrated his birthday at Royal Star & Garter in Surbiton – a home that provides loving, compassionate care to veterans and their partners living with disability or dementia.

The great-grandfather enjoyed an outdoor party with family in the home’s garden on Sunday 12 June, before celebrating with other residents two days later.

British Army veteran Peter Whitely 100th birthday card from Her Majesty The Queen CREDIT Capt (Ret'd) Peter Whiteley
Capt (Ret'd) Peter Whiteley opens his birthday card from the Queen (Picture: Capt (Ret'd) Peter Whiteley).

In addition to the birthday card from the Queen, the veteran also received a letter from the Burma Star Memorial Fund, on behalf of the charity's patron, Prince Charles.

Capt (Ret'd) Whiteley joined the British Army straight from school in 1940 and at 18, was commissioned into the Royal Engineers.

His love of adventure and new challenges led him to train in India, where he built bridges and helped set and clear mines.

British Army veteran Peter Whitely 100th birthday archive CREDIT Peter Whiteley
Capt (Ret'd) Peter Whiteley while serving in 1945 (Picture: Capt (Ret'd) Peter Whiteley).

Eventually, the soldier returned to Burma, helping to build a mule track during the monsoon and an arched bridge. 

Capt (Ret'd) Whiteley fought in the Battle of the Admin Box in February 1944 – a turning point in the Burma Campaign and tactical victory for British troops against the Japanese. 

The centenarian later survived a deadly assault by enemy troops, which claimed the lives of several men he was with.  

Capt (Ret'd) Whiteley left the Britain Army in 1946 and soon moved to India, where he lived until 1976 after which he moved to Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, where he stayed for a further 10 years.

He returned to the UK following the death of his wife Edith.  

British Army veteran Peter Whitely 100th birthday archive image of his wedding to his wife Edith CREDIT Peter Whiteley
Capt (Ret'd) Peter Whiteley married Edith in India in 1951 (Picture: Capt (Ret'd) Peter Whiteley).

Capt (Ret'd) Whiteley later remarried and moved to Royal Star & Garter with his wife Colleen in 2019 who died later that year. 

His daughter Christine said: "He had a great 100th birthday party and he loved having his family with him. It was a lovely day." 

Speaking about the home, Christine continued: "It was great to find somewhere that had a connection to his past. 

"He spent very little of his adult life in England, so he doesn't know much about The Beatles, but he knows about the military." 

For more information about Royal Star & Garter visit www.starandgarter.org