Derbyshire war veteran crosses off bucket list 'wish' at 106 years old by riding in fire engine

A 106-year-old World War II veteran has crossed one of his last remaining wishes off his bucket list – by riding in a Derbyshire fire engine.

Friday, 4th June 2021, 11:14 am
Updated Friday, 4th June 2021, 11:32 am

Donald Rose, who is a resident at Canal Vue Care Home in Ilkeston, had the chance to fulfil his firefighting dream by riding as a passenger in one of Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service’s vehicles.

Fire crews collected him from the residential care home and drove the 106-year-old war veteran to the joint training centre where current trainee firefighters completed an exercise for him to watch.

Along with getting the opportunity to try on some of the firefighter kit and ask questions, Donald, who is originally from Guildford in Surrey, then boarded the fire engine and was taken for a drive around the station.

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Donald Rose, who is 106-years-old, was taken to Derbyshire joint training centre for a ride in a fire engine.

His son, David Rose, was also there to witness the historic moment that the former van, dustcart and lorry driver, who was also known as a handy man in his younger years, has been waiting for all his life.

Donald said: "I always wanted to drive or ride in a fire engine because I've never driven a fire engine and it's the only thing I've never driven.

"I am so excited even just to sit in one, I can't drive one anymore because my eyesight is bad and I would be silly to try and drive one because if you can't see then you're stupid to try it.

The World War II veteran said he had always wanted to drive a fire engine, but never had the chance.

"I would like my son to be with me and have his photo taken with me because then he would have something to look at when I'm gone.

"Then he could say ‘that's my dad’."

The 106-year-old also has flying a plane down as the other remaining wish on his bucket list which is yet to be crossed off..

He also got the chance to meet trainee Derbyshire firefighters.

Donald joined the army when he was 23 as a front-line soldier in the 7th Armoured Division and soon progressed to become a sniper before serving in North Africa, Italy, France, Normandy, Belgium, Holland and Germany.

He was highly decorated for his service and received a number of medals, including the Legion of Honour – the highest level of honour in France.

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Donald rode in the front passenger seat, as he was taken for a drive in the fire engine.
Firefighters showed off their training to the 106-year-old former soldier.
Donald finally got to cross off riding in a fire engine off his bucket list.
Trainee firefighters showed off their skills and answered questions from Donald about their job.