Man celebrates 100th birthday with party in Stoke Newington pub

Hackney resident Will Iland celebrates his 100th birthday with sisters Olive Edmonds, left, and Gwen

Hackney resident Will Iland celebrates his 100th birthday with sisters Olive Edmonds, left, and Gwen Iland. - Credit: Archant

A man who turned 100 last week received his telegram from the Queen while celebrating at a party in the local pub.

A long term Stoke Newington resident, Will Iland, was joined at the Rose and Crown, in Albion Road, by friends and family to mark his century milestone.

Mr Iland said: “It was great; everybody came. We all talked together and then we came back to my house, and we had tea, that sort of thing.”

He added: “It doesn’t feel any different to being 99. I am trying to imagine how it will make my life different because I still want to do a little bit of historical writing and I am wondering how I will be able to manage.”

Mr Iland is working on a historical novel about Romanticism and its beginnings in modern Europe.

As well as writing, he is fluent in German and French, having graduated with a first in German in 1937.

He said: “It turned out to be a good thing - everybody went for French - and German was the more difficult language. It was quite a rare thing to get a qualification.”

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Born in Liverpool to Irish parents, Mr Iland then spent five years as a child in County Clare before moving back to England after the First World War.

In his rich, varied life he spent a year at Leipzig University before the Second World War and served in the Intelligence Corps.

Around the same time as the D-Day landings, Mr Iland was in Dunkirk, France, listening to and breaking German military codes.

He also saw action in the Norwegian campaign at Narvik and, after the war, moved to Germany to support de-Nazification.

He then went on to teach German and French.

Mr Iland said: “I remember everything very clearly. I was also very keen on music and played the piano for years. I had two hours by memory but once you get old you can’t control your fingers.

He continued: “I just heard Bach last Saturday. I was given a little radio for my birthday and sat listening to St John Passion which was a great treat.”