PM praises WWII veteran as 'awesome' in VE Day call

Image source, Number 10
Image caption,
Ernie Horsfall and the prime minister spoke for "more than half an hour"

The prime minister called a 102-year-old veteran to say he was "awesome" and "a credit to his generation" to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

Boris Johnson "spoke for just over half an hour" to Ernie Horsfall, who was a staff sergeant in World War II, a government spokesman said.

Mr Horsfall is one of the UK's oldest surviving servicemen.

He was running tank repair workshops near the Pompeii road in Italy on VE Day in 1945.

Image caption,
Mr Horsfall was in Italy and North Africa in the war

The veteran, from Preston, Lancashire, served with the Army's Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers from 1940 to 1946.

He served in the battle of El Alamein in Egypt and joined the Desert Rats in the North Africa campaign.

Image source, Handout
Image caption,
Ernie Horsfall, seen here in 2019, is one of the UK's oldest surviving servicemen

Despite turning 102 a week ago, he remains an active light aircraft engineer.

Mr Johnson is the 25th person to become prime minister in Mr Horsfall's lifetime.

"He and the PM had a really lovely conversation," Mr Johnson's official spokesman told reporters.

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