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Lincoln girl could be youngest grandchild of any living Second World War veteran

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: November 10, 2012

  • Second World War veteran Noel Wildsmith has become a grandfather at the age of 86 after the arrival of Lily Alice Wildsmith.

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The family of a baby girl from Lincoln believe she could be the youngest grandchild of any living Second World War veteran.

Four-month-old Lily Alice Wildsmith is the granddaughter of Noel Wildsmith, from Navenby, who turns 87 on Christmas Day.

He joined the Royal Navy in 1943 and was a telegraphist on HMS Redmill, serving in the North Atlantic convoys.

Mr Wildsmith, who now has 12 grandchildren, said the family is overjoyed at the latest arrival.

"I was surprised to become a grandfather again at my age, but my son's no spring chicken either," said Mr Wildsmith, whose ship lost 60ft of its stern after being torpedoed off the west coast of Ireland. Lily Alice is the first child of dad Ade Wildsmith, 52, a railway signalman at Saxilby, and his partner Rachael Thacker, 35, who live in Newark Road, Lincoln.

"I saw on the internet that someone was claiming six years ago that they had the youngest grandchild but the grandfather had died before the baby was born," said Mr Wildsmith junior.

"I did not think I would produce a grandchild so it was quite a sweet moment when she sat on his lap.

"It was not until she was about three-months-old that the penny dropped.

"The fact that my father joined the war as a young man is one of the reasons he is still with us today.

"Because I did not have a child until this year at the age of 52, it throws up the possibility that my daughter is probably the youngest grandchild of a surviving Second World War serviceman. It's a really strange generation bridge that keeps that direct link to the wartime generation."

Latest available figures show around 6,000 children in England and Wales were fathered by men of Mr Wildsmith junior's age in 2010, although there is no information about grandparents.

The most common age for fatherhood was 30 to 34, according to the Office of National Statistics.

Further data shows that many working women are choosing to delay pregnancy.

A total of 207,154 women aged 30 to 34 gave birth in England and Wales in 2011 – the highest proportion that year. And there were 1,832 births by mothers aged over 45 last year.

In Lincolnshire, 2,387 women who gave birth in 2011 were aged 25 to 29, representing the greatest share of new mums.

There were 17 births to women aged 45 plus, out of a total 7,938 county births.

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