D-Day Veteran Awarded His Second PhD At The Age Of 95

A 95-year-old D-Day veteran who left school without a single qualification has become the oldest person ever to receive a PhD in the UK.

Not only that, but Charles Betty's PhD - which included a 48,000 thesis - isn't even his first, but his second PhD.

Mr Betty's thesis was written about British ex-pats who return to the UK in their old age, and was awarded after he completed a long-distance course at the University of Northampton from his home on the Costa del Sol.

He only began his academic career at the age of 70, but now has two PhDs and two masters' degrees. Not bad going for a guy who left school aged 14 and joined the army.

Credit: SWNS
Credit: SWNS

He said: "When I first moved to Spain I was told that you live longer if you do two things, laugh a lot and keep your mind occupied.

"I come from an ordinary working-class background, born in Fleetwood, Lancashire, in 1923, where we had no history of degrees or going to university.

"I had four brothers, my mother was a housewife, and my father was a deep-sea fisherman, a trawler chief engineer and he was away for weeks at once.

"I never really thought about studying but when I came home from France after the war.

I was demobbed from the army and I saw a notice which said that after the war the country will need lots of teachers and anyone interested should apply.

"I had no qualifications, but I was able to train in Liverpool to get my teaching certificate and I went on from there."

Credit: SWNS
Credit: SWNS

He continued: "The thesis is all about the reasons why people return to Britain, we've got 300,000 Brits in Spain and most living in the Costa del Sol according to the census.

"But as they get older quite a number of those become more vulnerable, when they believe they are not being able to access.

"My thesis is called Return Migration of Older British Residents in Spain which looks at the reasons why older people return to the UK.

"Obviously I collected the data and information well before Brexit and I think now the situation is one of uncertainty.

"It would be interesting to see the effect Brexit has on return migration but that will take years to understand."

Credit: SWNS
Credit: SWNS

During his army career, he served with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and was present at the D-Day landings in France.

Two years ago the French Government awarded him the Legion D'Honneur - one of the country's highest honours - for his role in June 1944.

His wife of 73 years, Eileen, said: "I think it's wonderful and I'm particularly proud of him.

"Charles loves learning and researching. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he continues his studies."

His daughter, 68-year-old Jillian Oakham, added: "I think it's a spectacular achievement.

"He was brought up in hard times, you have to have a special drive to work your way out of those kind of situations."

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

Tom Wood

Tom Wood is a freelance journalist and LADbible contributor. He graduated from University of London with a BA in Philosophy before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. He has previously written for the M.E.N Group as well as working for several top professional sports clubs. Contact him on [email protected]

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