A WAR hero and former train driver was treated to a trip down memory lane for his 100th birthday.

Gordon Pritchard passed his first railways tests in Swindon in 1937 and returned to the town in the driver's cab of one of GWR's new bullet-style express trains before enjoying a visit to Steam museum.

The trip from Swansea was one Gordon regularly made during 40 years' service with the company and he was presented with a cake and framed picture to celebrate reaching three figures.

Gordon said: “It’s wonderful to ride in the cab of a train again, I’m grateful to GWR and Steam for organising this.

“Looking back, I had a wonderful time on the railways. I remember receiving a telegram from my dad telling me I had to go down to Swindon to take my tests.

“When I passed, everyone was congratulating me and telling me I’d got myself a job for life. It was difficult to understand at the time but, as it turned out, they were right.”

Not only was Gordon a driver for GWR but he was also part of the Royal Engineers and was called up to fight in the Second World War.

During his visit to Steam, staff at the museum shared files from the archives that included where and when Gordon had worked for GWR as well as recording his time in the military.

Ian Surtees, Steam museum’s income generation manager, helped organise the celebration.

He said: “We were contacted by GWR a short while ago about Gordon and his long history with GWR. We do a lot of partnership work with GWR so we were more than happy to get involved and look into our archives and see what we could find about Gordon and his work history.

“It’s a massive archive but we have a big team of volunteers and curators so it was quite easy to find images of the different locomotive sheds that he worked at, the types of engines he worked on, but what we’re most happy about is the fact that we found his war records, which was probably a million-to-one. Of all the things we have, we had Gordon’s record and for me that was really special.

“We’ve done VIP things before but not to this extent. This is quite a special one, the fact that Gordon’s 100 very soon and the fact that he’s in such amazing fitness, he doesn’t look 100. We don’t do this that often but all of the stars aligned for this one.

“He’s very knowledgeable, even from the short time we’ve spent with him we can see that. We hope Gordon’s tour of the museum will spark some interesting discussions and perhaps bring a few memories back of his time on the footplate.”

During the war, Gordon’s first assignment was to Persia where he would help ship coal and troops to the gulf of Tehran.

Gordon also served in Baghdad, Beirut and Lebanon. After the war he returned to work for GWR at Southall yard, where he worked on freight and passenger trains for four decades.

He married Olive in 1947 and they had two children, Paula and Roger.

He later worked on the Port Tennant and Danygraig lines and transported coal from the pits in the Merthyr Valley to Swansea Docks before retiring in May 1983.

Olive passed away six years ago, aged 88, and Gordon is now cared for by his daughter Paula, granddaughter Victoria and her fiancé Ben.