FORMER POW Jack Fleming has escaped the rat race and care homes for nearly seven years by living in one of our town centre hotels – and in just 11 days he will turn 100.
Mr Fleming spoke to YLP before a party planned in his honour at the Globe Hotel in King Street, King’s Lynn.
Home from home for ex-flying ‘ace’ Jack
IT MAY seem like the great escape for ex-prisoner of war, former squadron leader Jack Fleming – and it certainly is after nearly seven years living at one of our top town centre hotels.
John, who likes to be known as Jack, has been enjoying life at the Globe Hotel in King Street since May 2011 as a permanent resident.
Now staff are preparing a party to celebrate a big date for him as he turns 100-years-old in just 11 days’ time.
“I came here for the weekend and I was so impressed by the staff, they are like family to me.
“I am happy here,” said Mr Fleming.
Mr Fleming, who was born in Belfast on March 14, 1917, was one of four children.
He signed up for the Royal Air Force as a young man, which saw him travel the world as a squadron leader.
When looking back at his career, Mr Fleming remembers vividly escaping a German prisoner of war camp.
“The wall was around 12ft high,” he said. “You had to be careful where you placed your feet as it had barbed wire.
“The guard was a bit slack so I risked my life.
“I knew I had to move fast or I would be shot.”
Mr Fleming said when he returned home he was treated like a hero.
“I didn’t feel like one. I was in the camp for six months – the lack of food was hard, but I was slim anyway – I had to get out.”
After the war, Mr Fleming married Megan, who he described as “the one”, and the couple went on to have a family together.
He added: “She died 12 years ago and I was devastated. I wanted to die with her.”
It was in 2011 when Mr Fleming came to West Norfolk after living in Cyprus for 24 years.
“He turned up with a tiny suitcase,” said hotel team leader Louise Mattocks.
“It’s had it’s up and downs and it’s been a learning curve for us since he decided he wanted to live here.
“And at Christmas time if the hotel closes we find him somewhere else to stay for a couple of days.”
Mr Fleming has three meals a day there and stays in a single room, but with a few pictures and his many medals on display.
Miss Mattocks added: “His bank statements are delivered here and he has three meals a day. The surgery rings here if they haven’t seen him for a while. We love having him.”