A FORMER Newport train employee, who had a lucky escape from the D Day landings, celebrated his 100th birthday.
Haydn Owen Davies was born in Llanfallteg, Carmarthenshire, on March 24, 1914, and was the second son of Mary Kate Davies, nee Beynon, and Benjamin Davies.
Mr Davies was educated at Llanfallteg Primary School before continuing his education at Whitland Grammar School.
Due to his keenness and fitness, he attained the position as Victor Ludorum for the school.
But due to financial difficulties, his parents could not afford to further his education to enable him to enter another love, the church.
He was employed locally, until he joined The South Wales Borderers.
He shared many stories with his family about his service life, particularly as a driving instructor at Brecon's Derrin Lines.
He was due to leave for the D Day landing, but the night before, there was urgent need for truck maintenance.
Mr Davies decided to change a wheel unaided, but this resulted in a hernia and he was hospitalised.
His nephew, Geraint Phillips believes that this could well have been a turning point in his life as although thankful to be alive, he felt an element of guilt as many of his colleagues did not return.
Despite this, he, along with many other soldiers attended horrific scenes following the heavy bombing of Swansea.
In 1945, at the end of the war, Mr Davies, was offered the rank of Sergeant, but he turned it down to return to Llanfallteg.
Mr Davies held various positions and in the early 1950's took up the position as station master at Llanfallteg, a position which he held until the closure of the train line, known as the Cardi Bach, to passengers in 1962.
He gained a position as a ticket collector at Whitland, but in 1969, his position was closed but he secured a post at Newport train station, where he remained until compulsory retirement at the age of 65 years.
Mr Davies found retirement difficult at first but took up walking, bird watching and at every opportunity, headed down West to visit friends and family.
Mr Phillips said Mr Davies has not enjoyed the best of health in the last few years and due to glaucoma, he is now blind, nevertheless, he remains cheerful at his residence at Mill Heath Nursing Home, Bettws.