Waterlooville Royal Navy veteran celebrates 102nd birthday

Now 102 years old, Thomas Victor Hyom says he’s already set his next goal – reaching 110.

Tuesday, 5th May 2020, 12:55 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th May 2020, 12:57 pm
Tom Hyom celebrates his 102nd birthday at Wellington Vale Care Home, Waterlooville. Picture: Wellington Vale Care Home

Celebrating his milestone birthday on April 22 at Wellington Vale Care Home, Denmead, Mr Hyom recalls how he grew up in Widley Road, Stamshaw, with his five older brothers.

At 16, Thomas, known as Tom, joined the Royal Navy at HMS Vincent, Gosport. He had a long and successful 32-year career at sea reaching the rank of Master-at-arms, during which he served in the Second World War aboard HMS Cossack as a Leading Seaman at the second Battle of Narvik. He was flash blinded but his sight was gradually restored. Tom was awarded the Arctic Star.

Tom met his future wife Alice in London while on leave in 1939. They married in 1940 and were inseparable for 61 years until her death in 2001. The Hyoms travelled extensively together, especially on cruise ships.

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Tom Hyom celebrates his 102nd birthday at Wellington Vale Care Home. Picture: Wellington Vale Care Home

Upon leaving the navy, Tom oversaw the building and security of the Arndale Centre in Nottingham, the second biggest shopping complex in the country at the time. He went on to manage the complex for 10 years before moving to Dorset where he managed Poole’s Arndale Centre until his retirement in 1983.

Alongside his love for cruising, Tom was also an avid carpenter and had a passion for Pompey which still exists today.

Wellington Vale ensured Tom had a great birthday and included his daughter Maureen and son-in-law Bob Dunkley, who also live in Denmead, in the celebrations via video call. They were able to watch him open his presents, cards and homemade birthday cakes.

When asked about the most important lesson he has learned in his life, great-grandfather Tom smiles and says: ‘You should try to make friends with everybody.’

Tom Hyom celebrates his 102nd birthday at Wellington Vale Care Home. Picture: Wellington Vale Care Home