100-year-old WWII hero of Dunkirk shares his secret to reaching 105: ‘I’m so full of life’

Police officers show their hilarious dance moves inside an elevator

John Hamilton, one of the last surviving Dunkirk veterans in Britain, still walks a mile each day after turning 105 years old. According to him, the key to staying young is staying physically fit.

Despite living in a care home now, he continues to lead an active lifestyle. Hamilton spends 90 minutes in the gym each day, and at the age of 95, he broke the world record for a 1000-meter time trial on a rowing machine.

“I feel good but it’s confusing—I’m so full of life and almost waiting for something to go wrong,” Hamilton said. “The key to a long life is exercising—it makes you physically well but is mentally stimulating too. If I didn’t go (exercising) I think my last days would be long gone by now.”

During his 25-year career in the Royal Army, John was a devoted athlete who regularly participated in sports such as cricket, rugby, golf, tennis, squash, and polo.

During World War II, John Hamilton and his unit, the 1st King’s Dragoon Guards, were among the many soldiers stranded on the beach in Dunkirk, France, in 1940.

They were rescued by civilian industrial and recreational ships that crossed the English Channel, making it one of the most memorable operations for the British.

That same year, he met his wife while taking shelter from a storm in London’s Hyde Park. After serving in Palestine, Jordan, and Germany, he retired from the army at the age of 39.

Currently, Hamilton lives in a bungalow located on the grounds of a nursing home, where he is frequently visited by caretakers, friends, and family. Despite this, he remains self-sufficient and still walks a mile a day to maintain his physical fitness.

Police officers show their hilarious dance moves inside an elevator

According to John Hamilton, he gave up smoking his pipe six months ago after losing the tobacco he had bought from the shop. He felt that it was a sign to quit and has been feeling better since then.

He used to struggle to breathe after rowing, but now he has no problem breathing. He has three children, eight grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren. He still drinks a glass of wine every other night.

According to a close friend of his, Adela Forestier-Walker, reporters heard that Hamilton was “probably more alert than most people half his age,” and that he still read “voraciously.”

As a part of his 105th birthday celebration, Clifton College, Hamilton’s former school, flew a flag in his honor, and members of his regiment were in attendance.

Despite being more than three-quarters of a century in the past, Hamilton’s memories of Dunkirk were “clear as [a] bell,” and they involved his time as an anti-aircraft gunner defending the retreating British from German bombers during the evacuation.