A retired judge from Kenilworth said staying together with his wife was the secret to long life after turning 100 years old yesterday (Tuesday July 11).
Judge James Blythe celebrated his 100th birthday at Kenilworth Cricket Club, surrounded by his extended family and friends.
The day was made especially memorable for James and his wife Margo, as they met their first great-grandson, baby Alfie, for the first time.
In a speech after a toast by his daughter Victoria, James quipped: “Margo and I celebrated our 68th wedding anniversary last month - and of course, we’ve been together ever since.
“Margo has spent all her time looking after me. When I can’t do things for myself, she does them.
“I know for a fact if it had not been for her, I would not be sitting here today.”
Born on July 11, 1917 in Coventry and educated at Coventry Preparatory School, Wrekin College and Birmingham University, Judge Blythe grew up in Earlsdon with his parents, brother Donald and sister Mary.
He also had a second home with his grandfather James Hazlewood at Upper Ladyes Hill in Kenilworth where he and Margo still live to this day. They have two daughters, Victoria and Jane.
In 1936, he was commissioned into the Territorial Army by King Edward VIII during his short reign, and posted to the 7th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment stationed at Coventry.
He went on to serve during the whole of the Second World War with distinction.
On May 31, 1940, he was evacuated from Dunkirk after the disastrous Normandy battles. On his return, James was promoted to Captain commanding ‘D’ Company where he remained in Devon until September 1940 when he was posted to the General Staff and became an Air Liaison Officer with the RAF’s Army Cooperation Squadrons.
There, James learnt to fly and would later serve in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and the South of France under the command of the 8th Army.
After the war he qualified as a solicitor and commenced practice on his own in Coventry.
His work included prosecuting for the Police and he was appointed coroner for the City of Coventry in 1964, retiring in 1978.
He later went in to partnership with Roland Owen–George and eventually amalgamated with Sir Edmund Liggins, founding the firm still practising today known as ‘Blythe Liggins’, based in Leamington.
In 1978, he was made a Circuit Judge and appointed to the Midland and Oxford Circuit where he continued until his retirement in 1992 at the age of 75.