The Ontario-based World War II veteran is celebrating his 102nd birthday

TORONTO – Grahame Clapp smiled from ear to ear as he saw a convoy of vehicles – including military vehicles and police – drive past his home in Oshawa to wish the World War II veteran a happy 102nd birthday.

“I feel really good, I appreciate all the attention I get,” said Clapp, who officially turns 102 on Monday.

Clapp was born in Treharris South Wales in 1919 and immigrated to Canada with his family in 1926.

He served with the Canadian military from 1941 to 1946 and joined the First Special Service Force – an elite unit of Canadians and Americans – as a radio operator.

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“He was one of the original members of the Special Services Force – they became what we call the first commands,” said his nephew Lynn Clapp.

“I was a private person when I went in there, there was a difference in salary and they all got us Canadians to be sergeants – we did well in that regard,” laughed Clapp, recalling.

Clapp worked at General Motors in Oshawa for nearly forty years after the war. He never married and had no children, but has a large extended family.

His nieces and nephews organized the special birthday drive with the help of a local historian. The word quickly spread on social media, drawing people from corners of the province, including veterans and active members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

“It just means the world to me, he’s been like another father to me, he’s a gracious, humble person,” niece Corrine Wells said.

Some veterans roll up on motorcycles and greet Clapp.

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“Just to show respect from one solid to another,” Sgt. Brian Webber. “He gave up a lot for our freedom.”

As for the secret behind his long life, Clapp put it simply as living “one day at a time.”

Clapp, who has not been out much since the beginning of the pandemic, was surprised and grateful for the birthday run-in.

“I was not expecting all this, a little surprised – everyone has been really good to me.”

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