Ralph, who reached the age of 110 in July and still did some shopping, cooked for himself and enjoyed the occasional glass of whisky, died at the end of last month.Back in July he said : " I don’t feel my age, certainly not in my head. I sometimes get a few aches and pains and I’ve been ill recently but I’m getting my strength back now. I’ll be happy as long as I can get about under my own steam and I can do that quite well now.’
What you almost certainly didn't know about Ralph, that he :
* was born in Nottingham in 1903 and moved with his family to Sheffield at the age of 7, was 11 at the outbreak of the First World War and 13 when he left school and started work as an office boy a a steelworks.
* might have seen this elephant, used for haulage in a Sheffield munitions yard during the War,
* met his future wife, Phyllis when he was 19 years old in 1922 and married at the age of thirty in 1933, six years before the outbreak of the Second World War and remained so until she died on New Year's Day 2012, aged 102.
* during the Second World War, served as a corporal in the Royal Air Force with 201 Coastal Command, based in Scotland.
* became an estimator and steel inspector before eventually selling insurance for Refuge Assurance until his retirement 45 years ago in 1968.
* on his last birthday, the youngest of his two daughters, 67 year old Chris, flew in from the USA to organise the family gathering which, by that time, consisted of four generations with : 7 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren and 3 great great grandchildren.
* said : "There’s no need to live too carefully, I smoked until I was 70 and I still enjoy a drink. I don’t know what the future holds, but I’ll keep going as long as I can."
Ralph was in :
1906, 3 when the first dreadnought, a new and powerful battleship is launched
1908, 5 when Kenneth Grahame published The Wind In The Willows
1909, 6 when the first old age pensions were paid
7 when Edward VII died and George V became King
1911, 8 when the National Insurance Act is passed allowing workers unemployment and sickness benefit for the first time.
1914, 11 in August, when the First World War began
1916, 13 when at the Battle of the Somme was fought and tanks are used in battle for the first time.
1918, 15 when the War ended in November and women over 30 are allowed to vote
1922, 19 when the BBC was founded
1926, 23 when workers held the General Strike
1928, 25 when universal suffrage was introduced and everyone over the age of 21
1930, 27 when Frank Whittle invented the jet engine
1936, 33 when television began in Britain
1939, 36 when the Second World War began
1940, 37 during the Battle of Britain
1942, 39 when the Beveridge Report was published proposing a new welfare state.
1944, 41 when the Allies invaded France
1945, 42 when the Second World War ended
1947, 44 when the school leaving age was raised to 15
1948, 45 when the National Health Service was founded
1952, 49 when George VI died and Elizabeth became Queen.
1954, 51 when post-War food rationing ended
1955, 52 when ITV began broadcasting
1956, 53 when during the Suez Crisis in Egypt which proved that Britain was no longer an imperial power.
1960, 57 when Britain is became increasingly affluent with 44% of households owning a washing machine.
1962, 59 when The Beatles released their first single, 'Love Me Do'
1963, 60 when 'Doctor Who' was broadcast for the first time
1964, 61 when the last executions in Britain were carried out
1967, 64 when colour TV began
1970, 67 when the minimum age for voting was lowered from 21 to 18
1971, 68 when Britain switched to decimal currency
1972, 69 when the school leaving age was raised to 16
1973, 70 when Britain joined the EEC, forerunner of the European Union
1975, 73 when the Sex Discrimination Act was passed
1978, 75 when the first test tube baby was born
1979, 76 when Margaret Thatcher became Britain's first woman prime minister
1981, 78 when Prince Charles married Diana
1982, 79 when the Falklands War was fought against Argentina
1984, 81 when the miners strike began
1987, 84 when corporal punishment ended in state schools
1990, 87 when Margaret Thatcher fell from power and was replaced by John Major.
1994, 91 when the Channel Tunnel opened
1997, 94 when Princess Diana died