Ron Tomlin was treated to the surprise by the RAF’s No 10 Squadron – the same fleet he first served with during the Second World War.

The veteran admitted it was a day he never thought he would live to see after being captured by Nazi troops, sent to a prisoner-ofwar camp in 1943 and interrogated at the Gestapo headquarters.

Just 19 when he signed up to fight, Ron took part in bomb raids over Hamburg and Nuremberg. The former sergeant bombaimer’s Halifax plane crashed in the English Channel after experiencing engine troubles and he spent 17 hours adrift at sea. Members of his squadron were forced to put their fingers in the holes of their leaky gunfire-damaged dinghy to stay afloat until they were captured.

Ron was sent to a PoW camp and interrogated at the Gestapo headquarters at Dulag Luft, before eventually being liberated by advancing British forces two years later.

Ron returned to Birmingham and retrained as a draughtsman before marrying Freda and going on to have two sons, David and Mike.

He lives in a care home in Droitwich, Worcs.

Ron said: “I was quite impressed because of the size of the aeroplane and the fact the force can do that on behalf of someone like me. It was a nice little surprise.” He added: “I am pretty fortunate and you could say I am a healthy old man, but I would much rather be younger.”

Ron, who lost Freda last Christmas, gathered with friends and family to watch the Atlas A400M fly over the party twice, with the plane dipping its wing to salute the veteran.

His son David said: “I am very proud of him. He can still smile and enjoy himself.”

The flyover was organised by John Mason, of the Worcester and Districts Royal Air Force Association.

He said: “To think of the stress for those boys, who were not even old enough to vote back then, but old enough to lose their lives. I really admire Ron.”

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