Hav­ing a ball at 100thbirth­day

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - RICHARD MAYS

‘‘A fine lady!’’

That was how Ted Mor­gan re­acted to re­ceiv­ing his card from the Queen. Ted turned 100 last Wed­nes­day, with Queen El­iz­a­beth and the gover­nor-gen­eral among his well­wish­ers.

The World War II vet and res­i­dent at Bright­wa­ter Rest Home is rea­son­ably hale, but pro­foundly deaf. For­tu­nately, his son Ian is able to re­late sig­nif­i­cant parts of his story.

Among these is the rev­e­la­tion that all his life Ted knew him­self as Edwy, and it caused some con­ster­na­tion when he ap­plied for a pass­port 15 or so years ago for a trip to Aus­tralia to learn that the name on his birth cer­tifi­cate was ac­tu­ally Ed­ward.

‘‘He’s pretty adamant that they are wrong,’’ Ian says.

Born to Welsh par­ents in Napier on July 22, 1915, Ted was on a sheep farm in Wairoa when World War II broke out. In the 19th Armoured Reg­i­ment, he saw ser­vice in Egypt, Italy and Crete.

‘‘He was one of the ones who got off Crete,’’ Ian says. ‘‘He es­caped in a fish­ing boat at night.’’

More than 2000 New Zealan­ders were left be­hind fol­low­ing the Ger­man in­va­sion of the is­land in 1941, to be cap­tured and in­car­cer­ated – most for the rest of the war.

‘‘He was one of the ones who got off Crete. He es­caped in a fish­ing boat at night’’ Ian Mor­gan, son

A Sher­man tank driver, Ted got shot up a cou­ple of times, far­ing bet­ter though than oth­ers in­side the tank who, his son adds grimly, weren’t so lucky.

In Italy one of the high­points was dis­cov­er­ing a bricked-up wine cel­lar and en­joy­ing those par­tic­u­lar spoils of war.

Back home, Ted worked on the Waikare­moana hy­dro pro­ject and the Rimu­taka Tun­nel, be­fore re­turn­ing to farm­ing at Hi­matangi. In the 60s, he moved to Palmer­ston North and worked for the Rail­ways.

A keen fish­er­man, duck­shooter and gar­dener he also en­joyed in­door bowls. Ted has two sons and two daugh­ters, six grand­chil­dren and six great­grand­chil­dren, and has sur­vived two wives, Margery and Ruth, mar­ry­ing Ruth at age 80. He has lived the last 10 years on his own, mov­ing into Bright­wa­ter in Fe­bru­ary 2014, where he is the rest home’s old­est res­i­dent.

A birth­day party was held at the week­end with about 30 guests and, says Ian, Ted ‘‘had a ball’’.

PHOTO: DAVID UNWIN /FAIR­FAX NZ

With his card from the Queen, Ted Mor­gan is ready for the 100th birth­day cel­e­bra­tions to be­gin.

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