101 years ago one of Curo’s oldest residents was born in Lampards Building in Bath. Jack Eglinton recently recounted his remarkable life story in a fascinating interview with Radio Bath.
Jack lives at a Curo sheltered housing scheme in Larkhall, Bath where he’s supported to live independently through Curo’s Sheltered Housing Officers.
In his interview Jack recounts details, dates and names with crystal clarity and a sparkling sense of humour. He starts by painting a vivid picture of growing up in pre-war Bath: “We would go and swim in the river from weir to weir for hours. Our favourite playground was up at Hampton Rocks by the golf course. We’d spend hours there, in the caves.”
Jack left school at 14, working at a local garage at the top of Bath’s Gloucester Road. “I was getting 7 and 6 a week. You could do a lot with that. A packet of Woodbines was tuppence!”
At 18 Jack joined Bath Tramways where he conducted the last trams to run in the city. In 1939 he joined the Territorial Army with a group of friends and in September war broke out and Jack was called up to serve his country with the Light Infantry.
Jack describes harrowing near-death experiences in France with close colleagues killed. “I’ve seen some terrible things, but it never worried me. If you took notice, you wouldn’t have got anywhere. You took it as it comes as far as I was concerned.”
Jack was later awarded France’s highest order of merit, the Legion d’Honneur. After the war, Jack started right back to work. Jack returned to his same employer, passed his driving test and began driving Bristol buses and then coaches across country, a job he stayed with until his retirement.
Jack met his wife at work – also a conductor – and they were married for 52 years, raising six children; four of whom are still alive and remain close to Jack.
Asked in the interview what’s most important to Jack looking back on his life, he concludes: “I’ve always enjoyed myself and enjoyed my life. You must have your health and strength. That’s worth more than anything. Look after your health; look after yourself. All I’ve done I’ve enjoyed doing.”
And finally, the secret to a long life? “Just the luck of the draw,” says Jack!
Pictured: Jack on his 101st birthday with Curo Service Support Manager Cathy Isaacs (L) and Resident Engagement Coordinator Michelle Sage (R).