St Albans war hero and industrial negotiator Norman celebrates his 101st birthday with doorstep concert

St Albans resident Norman McGlynn MBE is celebrating his 101st birthday. Norman out for a work prior to his 101st birthday.

St Albans resident Norman McGlynn MBE is celebrating his 101st birthday. Norman out for a work prior to his 101st birthday. - Credit: Archant

One year on from scoring his century, a St Albans bowls stalwart is still going strong for his 101st.

St Albans resident Norman McGlynn MBE is celebrating his 101st birthday.Norman, aged 100, doing the Lambeth Walk with Val, hi...

St Albans resident Norman McGlynn MBE is celebrating his 101st birthday.Norman, aged 100, doing the Lambeth Walk with Val, his dance partner! - Credit: Archant

Norman McGlynn MBE celebrated reaching 100 in the same year that Townsend Bowls Club also marked the same milestone, and the joint birthday celebrations lasted for weeks.

Following a party organised by the club featuring a bowls-themed cake, his dance club threw an afternoon tea with lots of dancing and another cake!

He continued with another huge party thrown for him at Morrisons in St Albans, attended by then-Mayor Cllr Janet Smith, the sea cadets, the fire brigade, the marines and a whole troupe of Irish dancers with a home-baked Royal Navy-themed cake.

Finally there was a mass dedicated to him at St Albans and St Stephen’s Church, where he is their longest-standing parishioner of 50 years-plus and another cake, plus the obligatory birthday card from HM The Queen, who he has met on several occasions, including when she awarded him an MBE.

St Albans resident Norman McGlynn MBE is celebrating his 101st birthday. Norman and his friends at the St. Albans and S. Step...

St Albans resident Norman McGlynn MBE is celebrating his 101st birthday. Norman and his friends at the St. Albans and S. Stephens dance club where he regularly spun round the hall with his dance partner, Val, prior to Covid, at his 100th birthday in November 2019. - Credit: Archant


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Norman’s celebrations for his 101st birthday included a personal delivery of his favourite meal - fish and chips with peas, a slice of white bread and butter, and tartare sauce - delivered by the team at Morrisons - and a doorstep concert organised by daughter-in-law Danielle with BBC reporter Justin Dealey and WWII singer Rebecca Poole.

Norman was born in 1919, just after the end of the First World War. This was 10 months after his father had been released from a German POW camp, decided to walk home, and finally returned to his wife in the Staffordshire Potteries area.

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Both Norman and his sister won scholarships to the local public school, where both excelled, so much so that Norman was destined for Oxbridge - almost unheard of locally in that day.

Unfortunately family economics dictated that Norman should instead take up the offer of a posting in the civil service, firstly in Birmingham, then onto London.

St Albans resident Norman McGlynn MBE is celebrating his 101st birthday. Norman McGlynn and the officers of HMS Speedwell cir...

St Albans resident Norman McGlynn MBE is celebrating his 101st birthday. Norman McGlynn and the officers of HMS Speedwell circa 1945. - Credit: Archant

Almost immediately, the Second World War was to intervene and in 1939, aged 19, he volunteered to join the Navy. Working his way rapidly up to the rank of sub lieutenant, he was part of the crew of the first minesweeper that helped to clear the beaches for the D-day landings and subsequently kept the access passage open for the flotilla of small ships to enter.

His minesweeper, HMS Speedwell, was then stationed at Murmansk, where it had a key role in the Arctic convoys that saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens.. On the few occasions that Norman has spoken of his life in the most extreme of conditions, he described temperatures of minus 20 degrees, 30ft waves and the constant threat of German U-boat attacks.But his only real complaint was a constant diet of sandwiches!

Conditions on board must have been anything but luxurious but, typically, Norman’s only comment about that was that his hammock was really comfortable.

After the war he returned to the civil service and studied at evening school for the first of his two degrees. He helped to set up the first Labour Exchange, now called Job Centres, and again, rose through the ranks to senior principle.

St Albans resident Norman McGlynn MBE is celebrating his 101st birthday. Norman and his friends at Townsend Bowls Club on his...

St Albans resident Norman McGlynn MBE is celebrating his 101st birthday. Norman and his friends at Townsend Bowls Club on his 100th birthday in 2019. - Credit: Archant

In 1968 he was awarded the MBE for his services to the nation, particularly for his role as primary negotiator between the government, Rolls Royce and Lockheed Martin, ensuring Rolls Royce remained strike-free during negotiations with Lockheed for the Airliner Tri Star jet engines, a condition that Lockheed had imposed as a negotiating condition. This was at a time when Great Britain had a terrible reputation for frequent strikes and long tea breaks. He regularly visited Buckingham Palace in his role and also prepared questions and answers for Prime Minister’s Question Tmes.

Norman was “mentioned in despatches” no less than three times, awarded the Africa Star, the Atlantic Star, the 1939-1945 Star and the Arctic Star, and, most recently, was called up to the Russian Embassy where a very grateful official awarded him the Ushakov Medal - given for “bravery and courage in naval theatres” which, 80 years on, recognised the role that the 19 year old had played.

Norman was married for 65 years to Gladys, who sadly passed away in 2005, and has four children, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He is an accomplished ballroom dancer, an excellent bowler, swimmer and also an extremely melodic singer.

St Albans resident Norman McGlynn MBE is celebrating his 101st birthday. Norman McGlynn at Buckingham Palace with Gladys, his...

St Albans resident Norman McGlynn MBE is celebrating his 101st birthday. Norman McGlynn at Buckingham Palace with Gladys, his wife, and Maude, his mother, receiving his MBE in the New Year's Honours Awards 1968. - Credit: Archant

St Albans resident Norman McGlynn MBE is celebrating his 101st birthday. Norman and his friends at the St. Albans and S. Step...

St Albans resident Norman McGlynn MBE is celebrating his 101st birthday. Norman and his friends at the St. Albans and S. Stephens dance club where he regularly spun round the hall with his dance partner, Val, prior to Covid, at his 100th birthday in November 2019. - Credit: Archant

St Albans resident Norman McGlynn has celebrated his 101st birthday. Norman opening his card from HM Lord Lieutenant of Hertf...

St Albans resident Norman McGlynn has celebrated his 101st birthday. Norman opening his card from HM Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, Robert Voss CBE. - Credit: Archant

St Albans resident Norman McGlynn has celebrated his 101st birthday. Norman singing along to Pack up your Troubles.

St Albans resident Norman McGlynn has celebrated his 101st birthday. Norman singing along to Pack up your Troubles. - Credit: Archant

St Albans resident Norman McGlynn has celebrated his 101st birthday.
Morrisons St Albans community champion Shelley Crawford...

St Albans resident Norman McGlynn has celebrated his 101st birthday. Morrisons St Albans community champion Shelley Crawford, and her foodbank assistant, Veronique Bates, with a special delivery from all his friends at the store - everything needed to make his lockdown birthday special, including a home-baked cake, fish and chips, party food, flowers and his childhood favourite from the Potteries where he grew up - Staffordshire oatcakes! - Credit: Archant

St Albans resident Norman McGlynn has celebrated his 101st birthday. BBC reporter Justin Dealey, singer Rebecca Poole, Norman...

St Albans resident Norman McGlynn has celebrated his 101st birthday. BBC reporter Justin Dealey, singer Rebecca Poole, Norman and daughter in law Danielle McGlynn. - Credit: Archant

St Albans resident Norman McGlynn has celebrated his 101st birthday. Rebecca Poole singing live to Norman.

St Albans resident Norman McGlynn has celebrated his 101st birthday. Rebecca Poole singing live to Norman. - Credit: Archant

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