A World War II veteran says he was ‘overwhelmed’ to receive more than 400 cards from well-wishers for his 101st birthday.

Broughton House Veteran Care Village in Salford, where Joe Jervis has lived since April, and The Veterans Food Co, which supported him when he lived at home, initially set a joint target of getting 101 cards for him to mark the occasion.

But Joe was inundated with cards from local schools, the Albion Academy Combined Cadet Force (RAF), social media followers and many others.

Among those attending his party at Broughton House were RAF cadets from the academy, Wing Commander David Archibald, who is the officer commanding the Greater Manchester Wing of the Air Training Corps, standard bearers from the Stockport Armed Forces Community Organisation and other veterans, along with friends of Joe.

The Veterans Food Co supplied food and cake for the occasion.

Joe said: “I was overwhelmed to receive so many cards and that so many guests came to the party. It brought me immense joy to see that so many people care. I didn’t think people would remember – it truly made my day.”

Wing Commander David Archibald said: “It was an inspirational and very happy event, and it was great to see Joe and the other veterans in such fine spirits.”

Born in June 1923, widower Joe was raised in south Manchester and left school at 14 to join the Fairey Aviation Company at its factory in Stockport. He was an apprentice airframe fitter when the factory was producing aircraft for service in World War II.

In 1944, after an appeal for pilots, Joe and some of his friends enlisted in the RAF. He trained at the Padgate training base in Warrington.

As he was already a trained aircraft engineer, Joe underwent a brief introduction to RAF procedures and then served at fighter airfields across the UK, servicing aircraft such as the Spitfire. 

His job was to ensure the airframes and the systems in them were ready for combat and to repair any damage when they flew back from operations. He was demobbed in 1946 and returned to work at Fairey. 

Jane Green, director of care at Broughton House, said: “Joe only moved in a couple of months ago but he has rapidly endeared himself and has become a popular resident at our care village.

“We were delighted to host the party in honour of his 101st birthday and it was lovely to see him so happy celebrating with his friends and representatives from the RAF and veterans’ organisations, along with residents and staff.

“We set ourselves a target of getting 101 cards for him but ended up with over 400, which was a fantastic achievement. It’s great to see that so many people in the wider community care about our veterans and it helped make the occasion extra-special for Joe.”

Broughton House has cared for more than 8,000 veterans since it opened its doors to the ex-service community in 1916. It has recently been redeveloped into a complex with a 64-bed care home, including two 16-bed households dedicated to veterans with dementia, as well as independent living apartments, an array of modern facilities, a museum, gym, hairdressing and barber’s salon, and a restaurant and bar for residents.