100-year-old Eric Walton visits former Vickers factory site.


Eric took a trip down memory lane to revisit the Scotswood Road site where he worked as a young man.

Eric at Vickers 1

And he met up with fellow pensioners who have also retired to swap stories and reminisce about the good old days.

Eric, who worked on repairing and building the 16 inch guns during the Second World War, said: “We worked 12 hours on day shift and 12 hours on night shift. I have happy memories here and I am glad to be back. But I wouldn’t like to work those 12 hours shifts again.

“When I started here I earned £5 a week and I remember when I got my first pay packet I said I felt rich.”

Eric, who has had 14 jobs over his lifetime including being an engineer at the Wills Factory, added: “I remember my last day at Vickers. The manager came in and said the war is over and you can all go home now. I remember walking home to Gateshead and that was it.”

Eric brought his card sent by the Queen for his 100th birthday to show fellow retired staff, including Jim Dowson, 74, of Gateshead, Les Lilliendahl, 77, of Dumpling Hall, Newcastle, and Ken Peel, 88, of Prudhoe, Northumberland.Eric at Vickers 2

Great grandad Jim said: “Eric and I both started off in the gun shop making naval guns, but at different times. It’s great to come back and meet him.”

Julie Robinson, home manager at Eric’s residential home, said: “Eric has been buzzing all week. He’s had a wonderful day.”

Eric, Julie & ShereenManaging director Andy Wingfield said: “It is phenomenal to see someone reach that age and still be active and have a sharp mind. He recognises the place and it is an honour to have him come back to see the industry thrive.”