Charlie Hammerton, 101, in front of his car. (Brennan Phillips - Penticton Western News)

Charlie Hammerton, 101, in front of his car. (Brennan Phillips - Penticton Western News)

Age no barrier to driving for 101-year-old South Okanagan World War 2 vet

Charlie Hammerton celebrated his 101st in January

75 years after being in a tank in World War 2, Charlie Hammerton is still steady behind the wheel at 101 years old.

“I was in the tank corps, the loader and the radio operator,” said Hammerton.

The veteran celebrated his 101st birthday Jan. 9.

Born in England, in 1920, he came to Canada with his family in 1926 to Ontario, where they were given a chunk of bush land. Eventually, the family moved to a farm before moving to the town of Haileybury, Ont.

During the war he served in France, Belgium and Holland before ending up in Germany. He returned to Ontario in 1946 to marry his wife, Violet.

“When we moved, I was only a half a block from where my wife lived, and that’s how I met her,” said Hammerton. “When I joined, I never gave marriage a thought, because going to war, I didn’t want to leave her a widow. When I came back, we got married. We were married for 67 years.”

Hammerton’s father served in the British Army. Charlie’s eldest brother was unable to join due to coming down with an illness ahead of the war. His other brother joined at the same time, serving as an engineer.

READ MORE: Turning 101, Penticton veteran looks back on life

After receiving his discharge in 1946, he worked with the Norton Company, then in the dairy industry, before becoming an insurance agent. Eventually, he moved to Osoyoos in 1986, before moving to Penticton in 2003.

“I’ve seen changes, since before I moved to Osoyoos, and even since I moved to Penticton. They’re changing communities, and just last night I saw that Kelowna is the fourth fastest-growing city in Canada right now. You can’t blame them when you see what weather we’ve got,” Hammerton said with a laugh.

Keeping pace with a changing world, Hammerton has adapted to the digital age, using an iPad and his computer to do his banking and reading to stay up to date with the news. He also makes sure to stay physically active too.

“I’m still very mobile, but I had to stop golfing two years ago, I suppose three this year,” said Hammerton.

In addition to golfing, he also liked to go lawn bowling, and while he was in Osoyoos, curling. Although he doesn’t do those activities anymore, he still keeps himself moving.

“In the summertime, I love to go down to Okanagan Lake and walk around down there. Not only because it’s very pretty and nice, it’s very easy, when you get tired there’s all kinds of benches to sit down. It’s just a perfect place to go.”

READ MORE: Summerland pioneer celebrates 101st birthday

Hammerton is also a 65-year member of the Royal Canadian Legion where he served at times in roles as treasurer and president, and who he thanked for helping him to stay independent, a 55-year member of the Masonic Order, a volunteer for the Red Cross and he used to call out the numbers for seniors bingo in Osoyoos.

On the road to meet his friends for coffee every morning, Hammerton still passes his regular physical exams to be considered safe to drive.

“I don’t have any health problems. I only take two pills,” said Hammerton. “A little one in morning for my thyroid, and a blood pressure pill.”

The move to B.C. was to be closer to his daughter, who lives in North Vancouver, and son, who lives in Red Deer Alberta. Violet passed away six years ago.

“The biggest change and the best change for me was when I moved to British Columbia,” said Hammerton. “B.C. has been very enjoyable for me.”

Hammerton insists that he has no secret to his long life, other than his family being lucky, with his eldest sister passing away at 103, his brother’s passed away at 90 and 95

“My youngest sister lives in Brampton, and she’ll be 96 in April,” said Hammerton. “I had an aunt in England who lived to 105. It’s what they call the genes, don’t ask me what that is.

I always say, I’ve been a very lucky man. I always say, it’s alright living a long life, if you can keep your health, and you can enjoy the life as much as possible.”

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Veterans

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Mary Clayton testing her ski and avalanche gear. As communications director, Clayton helped create Avalanche Canada into the success it is today. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
Inspiring women: It was a men’s world – until Revelstoke’s Mary Clayton broke into it

She helped create Avalanche Canada into the internationally recognized organization it is today

John Hordyk said it isn’t fair to just look at COVID-19 deaths as many survivors are experiencing long-term impacts, himself included. (Photo by Rachel Muise)
Not getting better: Revelstoke man diagnosed with post-COVID-19 syndrome

‘I hope the damage isn’t long term, but it could be permanent’

A member of the Vernon Search and Rescue winch helicopter team pulls a skier who broke her leg at the gorge backcountry area east of Sicamous into the helicopter on Friday March 5. (Shuswap Search and Rescue/Facebook)
Search and rescue helicopter helps injured skier out of Shuswap backcountry

The Salmon Arm woman broke her leg, but was helped out of the bush thanks to radio communication.

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Multiple people were injured at a Vernon home following an early-morning break-in Saturday, March 6, 2021. (Black Press file photo)
Multiple people left injured following break-and-enter in Vernon

Police believe the early-morning break-in was targeted and not a threat to the general public

Isaac Gilbert is running for council in the by-election for Jake Kimberley’s vacated seat. (Submitted)
First candidate for Penticton council by-election makes himself known

Isaac Gilbert is making a second run at council after receiving 19.63 per cent of the vote in 2018

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kelowna General Hospital

One patient and one staff member on Unit have tested positive for the virus.

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

A Coldstream resident who found an owl struggling on her property in March 2021 is now spreading awareness of about the knock-on effects of rodent poisoning. (Kathy Renaud photo)
Okanagan owl ‘fighting for her life’ after ingesting rat poison

Coldstream resident warns against the use of rodenticide due to risk of secondary poisoning in raptors

Most Read