The oldest man in Britain will celebrate his 109th birthday tomorrow
Robert Weighton was born in 1908 – when Edward VII was King and Britain had yet to fight in two world wars.
The centenarian, who was born in Hull, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, was the middle of seven children – with three brothers and three sisters – and has three children of his own, 10 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.
Mr Weighton, who now lives in a flat in Alton, Hampshire, has received three telegrams from the Queen since turning 100, but has chosen not to receive one yearly as he does not want too many cards in his cosy home.
Asked his secret to his longevity, Mr Weighton, who has also lived in Japan, Taiwan, Canada and the USA in his lifetime, said: "I think I have just been fortunate really.
"I've eaten food I never thought I'd eat, made friends with people I never thought I would meet and been places I never thought I would go – but I'm not sure there really is a secret to living so long.
"As with everything in my life, it has just kind of happened to me, it's not been my choice and I have had to make the best of it."
Explaining why he decided to turn down a yearly card from Her Majesty, Mr Weighton said: "I decided not to receive a card every year from the Queen, because I didn't want a huge collection of cards that I add to every year.
"However, I did accept one from her two years ago, because it's the only one I'd seen that she was smiling on.
Robert Weighton was born on March 29, 1908
I decided not to receive a card every year from the Queen, because I didn't want a huge collection of cards that I add to every year
"In the rest of the cards she looked a bit miserable while on official duties."
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The 109-year-old was one of only a handful of youngsters his age lucky enough to be able to stay in school until he was 17, training in marine engineering.
But, by the time he had qualified in 1925 the shipping industry was on the decline and so he decided to head to Taiwan, where he worked as an English teacher.
Mr Weighton, who met his wife Agnes while training for his new job, said: "I always wanted to do something to promote peace, particularly with the likes of Hitler and Mussolini being in power at the time.
Robert Weighton's 109th birthday
"I met my future wife Agnes while we were both training to become teachers before heading abroad, but she was already scheduled to travel to Ghana.
"While I was in Japan learning the language before I could move onto my job in Taiwan, we would write letters to each other to stay in touch – each letter would probably take about five or six weeks to get to its destination."
In 1937, he and Agnes were married in Hong Kong after she decided to join him in Asia, and both worked as teachers in Taiwan – where they had their first son David a year later.
As the second world war loomed in 1939, Mr Weighton and his family attempted to return to the UK by boat, but after arriving in Canada they were informed the war had begun and they were stuck there.
Mr Weighton said: "The Canadian people were amazing. We were refugees really and they did their best to help us as much as they could.
The centenarian, who was born in Hull, in the East Riding of Yorkshire
"They found us a home in Vancouver and they people started coming round with furniture and pots and pans – we were even given a piano."
Mr Weighton initially worked as an engineering supervisor, making planes for the British army.
But after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour while he was living in Denver, in the USA, his knowledge of the Japanese language meant he was recruited by the British Political Warfare Mission.
There he deciphered enemy messages and also worked to disrupt the morale of the Japanese to try and help the Americans win their fight.
After the war, he was finally able to return to England with his wife, son David and a second son, Peter, and daughter Dorothy, who were both born in Canada – where he met his in-laws for the first time after 13 years of marriage.
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The centenarian, who still lives independently and is able to get out to the supermarket several times a week, spent the rest of his working life as a lecturer in marine engineering at City University in London, until his retirement, aged 65, in 1973.
Mr Weighton and his wife, who sadly passed away in 1997, spent much of their retirement volunteering as marriage councillors and helping at youth groups in their town.
Amazingly, Mr Weighton shares his title as Britain's oldest man with Alfred Smith, of Perth, Scotland, and the pair made contact with each other two years ago.
Mr Weighton said: "I saw a story about him and saw we were both the same age and shared the title of oldest man, so I sent a letter to him.
"We send each other cards now on our birthday, but I'm not sure which of us is slightly older."