Navy veteran ‘feeling great’ as he turns 100
A long line of wellwishers were outside US Navy veteran Jim Humphreys's door yesterday to congratulate him on his 100th birthday.
Mr Humphreys, who served at the Morgan's Point Naval Base in Southampton in 1945 and 1946 as a supplies and security officer, said yesterday: “I'm feeling great. In fact, I now feel like I'm 17.”
It was while stationed at Morgan's Point that Mr Humphreys met his wife, Shirley, who at the time worked as a volunteer nurse's aide. The couple were wed in 1945.
Speaking yesterday, Mr Humphreys joked that his wife married an “SOB” — a spouse of a Bermudian.
Their relationship made him one of just a few people in the world who knew that the US Navy had captured a German U-boat, complete with an Enigma machine used to send coded messages.
Mrs Humphreys was tasked with caring for the U-boat's commander, Captain Harald Lange, for nine months while he was held in Bermuda.
While she was given strict instructions not to reveal the capture of Capt Lange, she confided in Mr Humphreys, who kept their secret for decades.
“They were all told that in war times, it's so easy to let any little piece of information out, whatever it is, and then they can guess the rest,” he said.
“You have to be careful. You have to be careful that you don't do that.”
Mrs Humphreys passed away in 1999, but Mr Humphreys still lives at their family home in Paget.
Despite the lack of a formal birthday party, Mr Humphreys received a steady stream of visitors yesterday.
Asked for his secret about how to reach a ripe old age, he quickly responded: “Never talk back to your wife.”