AN ARMY veteran who celebrated his 100th birthday at the weekend has said he "still feels like a young man".

Owen Filer was born in Pontnewydd on October 19, 1919, and lived in the Cwmbran area his whole life.

"I watched the new town being built during my life," he said.

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(Owen Filer celebrating his 100th birthday Picture:

Finishing school at 14, Mr Filer started work two weeks later for half a crown a week, feeding chickens and pigs at Cwmbran Gardens Hotel.

But in 1940 Mr Filer's country came calling, and he was called up to fight in World War Two - serving in the 9th Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

He met his wife, Laura, in a milk bar in Llandudno on a rainy night when posted there for training.

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(Copy pic of Owen Filer in Bombay 1944 Picture:

The pair were married for 60 years, until Ms Filer died in 2004 following a stroke.

“She spoke Welsh as her first language when we met," said Mr Filer.

"Her mother couldn’t understand a word I was saying.”

Mr Filer was posted to Bombay in 1944. He was 24 years old.

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(Owen Filer celebrating his 100th birthday Picture:

"While I was there was when President Harry Truman decided to drop the bombs on Japan, which ended the war," he said. "It was cruel to drop those bombs, they killed so many innocent people. I’d never agree with war, not at all.

"I’ve been very lucky to have survived."

One day Mr Filer was out in the streets of Bombay when he was called back to base, where his commanding officer told him he was being sent home as his father was on his deathbed.

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(Owen Filer celebrating his 100th birthday Picture:

Mr Filer boarded a converter Lancaster bomber and flew from Delhi – stopping at Karachi, Persia (modern-day Iran), Tel-Aviv in what was Palestine, Castell Benito in Libya (which had been named for Benito Mussolini) before a final nine-hour flight to Bournemouth.

"Nine hours! I couldn’t believe it," he said.

"The journey didn’t seem that long as I was so focussed on getting home to see my dad."

However, it turned out that Mr Filer had arrived home too late as he discovered that his father had died before he got back.

"It was very sad," he said.

"I had arrived home two weeks too late.

"I never went back to the Army. I had to stick by my mother. That was the right thing to do."

But getting home meant Mr Filer was able to meet his infant son Gareth - then nine months old - for the first time. Gareth is now 75.

Mr Filer has another son, Barry, and two daughters.

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(Owen Filer celebrating his 100th birthday with his son Barry Filer and Granddaughter Emma Beesley Picture:

Asked about his secret to a long life he said: “I really don’t know. Everything in moderation.

“I got drunk in the Army once and I never wanted to do it again.

“I still feel like a young man, I’m a young old man.”

Mr Filer and his family also enjoyed a party at the Olive Tree in Cwmbran on Saturday, along with 90 guests.

Ahead of the party he said: “I’ll be dancing if they want me to. "You never know, it might be my last chance.”