Sept. 12, 2018

95-year-old WWII hero awarded a PhD at University of Northampton

A former Royal Welch Fusilier who fought during World War II has been awarded a PhD from the University of Northampton.

Charles Betty – who left school when he was just 14 – has been awarded his doctorate at the age of 95, making him the oldest person to ever be awarded a PhD by a UK university.

Charles graduated this summer having complete his thesis via long distance course from his home in Spain, whilst caring for his wife who suffers from a long-term illness. For his doctorate Charles researched the experiences of older ex-pats who’ve decided to move back to the UK from Spain. He himself has lived in Spain for over 30 years and drew upon his own experiences as inspiration for his thesis. He says, “I came to live in Spain in 1985 after my wife had serious health problems and was told that her life expectancy would increase if she moved to a warmer climate. In 1995, I co-founded Age Care Association, which now has six meetings points for members to exchange thoughts, experiences and problems about living in Spain. It was this involvement that prompted me to consider writing a PhD – and as they say, the rest is history.”

After leaving school without any qualifications, Charles joined the Royal Welch Fusiliers at the age of 18. He served five years before being wounded in France in 1944 when he was then sent back to the UK.  After the war he developed an interest in teaching and academia – with a successful career working as a head teacher as well as gaining masters degrees from both the University of Brighton and the University of Nottingham

Two years ago, Charles was awarded the French medal Legion D’Houneur for his services in World War II.

Charles was joined by his wife, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren at his graduation ceremony in July!

Find out more about postgraduate study at the University of Northampton.

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Content added on 12th September 2018. 

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