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War veteran returns to Winchester birth home to celebrate 90th birthday
A FORMER Hampshire regiment soldier celebrated his 90th birthday today (October 15) at a coffee shop which was once the house he was born in.
Reginald Argyle was born at 28 St Thomas Street in Winchester and, every year, for the last four years, has returned there with his family.
Born to Frederick and Lillian Argyle in 1923, he moved from Winchester from place to place before settling in Worthy Down when his father returned from serving in Iraq with the RAF.
Reginald was enlisted at the age of 15 by his dad as a boy soldier, joining the Hampshire regiment. He served in the army for 25 years, travelling across the world, but never forgot his childhood in Winchester.
He said: “I used to come to my Gran’s when she lived in St Peter’s Street, for holidays. I used to go down to River Park and get a canoe and float down the river all day.”
He met his sweetheart, Mary, who was a nursing assistant at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital. They married on July 31, 1949 and had three children, Charles, now 53, Alan, now 52 and Dave, now 58.
He recalls serving in some of the biggest battles, including Korea when he served with the Gloucesters in the early fifties.
He said: “They were involved with one of the biggest battles and lost about 1000 men and only 120 came out.
I’m the only one still living today. I’m the last one in action.”
Mr Argyle was struck by shrapnel in Monte Cassino in Italy, when he lost his best friend Leonard Burgess from Sutton Scotney, during a mortar attack.
He said: “We were being shelled by mortar bombs at the time. He jumped on top of me so he saved my life really. I remember him every year.”
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