RAAFA Estate Merriwa resident celebrates 100th birthday

Hugh Wray (Merriwa) celebrated his 100th birthday this week. Picture: Martin Kennealey
Hugh Wray (Merriwa) celebrated his 100th birthday this week. Picture: Martin Kennealey

HUGH Wray celebrated his 100th birthday on Sunday surrounded by family and friends who say the centenarian’s secret to a long and happy life is his positive attitude.

The RAAFA Estate Merriwa resident also puts his longevity down to hard work and never worrying.

Mr Wray was born on August 5, 1918 and attended primary schools in Guildford and Bassendean.

He went on to do a carpentry apprenticeship at the Midland Workshops and, at the same time, joined the Citizens Military Forces – the equivalent of the Army Reserves at the time.

It was by chance that he joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

He and a friend were walking down St George’s Terrace when they saw an advertisement for RAAF recruits.

Trainee pilots and navigators were being offered five shillings a week and carpenters 10 shillings a week.

So the two carpenters joined on-the-spot and were sent to an air force base at Cootamundra in NSW.

There Mr Wray met his wife, Muriel, and they were married in 1942 before being transferred to an air force base in Sale, Victoria.

Hugh Wray (Merriwa) and his son Tony Wray. Picture: Martin Kennealey

Their first child, Tony, was born in 1944, followed by Max in 1948.

When the war ended, the couple moved back to Bayswater and after another stint at the Midland Workshops, Mr Wray joined his father to set up a painting and renovating business, which he worked in until he retired at the age of 65.

“Dad has had a very sociable life and he and mum had lots of parties where he would recite his poetry, which he remains very good at,” Tony said.

“We are so happy he has made it to his centenary; he’s a true gentleman.”