Sky’s the limit as WWII veteran celebrates 100th birthday 

2 April 2024

A Second World War veteran badly injured clearing enemy mines from a beach nearly 80 years ago has hit the heights to celebrate his 100th birthday.

Former Royal Navy officer Boyd Salmon travelled from his Lymington care home to Bournemouth Airport for a helicopter flight over Southampton Water, the Solent and the New Forest coastline.

It was one of several treats arranged by his family over a four-day ‘birthday season’ which involved help from team members at Court Lodge.

Two visiting naval officers presented Boyd with a certificate of appreciation and lifetime membership of the Royal Naval Association and, in a visit to Lymington Royal British Legion, he was invited to join an official D-Day 80th anniversary parade in June.

Back at the home, the birthday party featured a traditional British afternoon tea of cucumber sandwiches, scones with jam and cream, canapes, fizz and a nautically themed cake specially baked by Court Lodge chef Hannah Judd to highlight Boyd’s love of sailing.

Born in 1924, Boyd was 17 when he joined the navy. After his training, he arrived in Normandy just after the initial D-Day landings in June 1944.

He was tasked with helping to make the beaches safer by clearing enemy mines, duties he continued in the Netherlands. He also spent time on the Atlantic convoys and at the Navy’s Mediterranean base on Gibraltar.

In 1945, he was just a few feet away from a mine on a Dutch beach when it exploded and left him with severe abdominal injuries, a large scar and shrapnel embedded in his body.

After treatment at various hospitals, he spent time convalescing with fellow officers at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight.

After leaving the Navy in 1946, Boyd studied engineering and became a Chartered Engineer, his profession until retirement.

He and his late wife Jacqueline had two daughters and multiple grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Boyd’s helicopter ride with Bliss Aviation was arranged as a surprise by his daughter Anita, who travelled from her home in America for the birthday celebrations.

Boyd, who moved to Court Lodge from his nearby Lymington family home four years ago, said after the flight: “It was a dream come true and I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

And speaking at his party, he added: “I feel so very happy to be here at Court Lodge and I can’t thank the staff enough for everything they do. Being 100 really is not bad at all. It was a fabulous birthday. The cake was absolutely amazing and I’ve taken off the decorations to keep.”

Court Lodge Companionship Team Leader Julia Puia said: “We all wanted to make sure Boyd had the best family gathering with his loved ones coming to help him celebrate in style. He was ever so excited about the helicopter ride. He had a magnificent birthday and was truly touched by all the love around him. We all wish Boyd a Happy Birthday and a splendid year ahead.”