COVID-19: WWII veteran among first Chelsea Pensioners to get virus vaccine

·2-min read

Lance Corporal Bob Sullivan was 19-years-old when he was called up to fight in the Second World War.

He learned to jump from a Whitley bomber before being posted to the 3rd Parachute Squadron.

Nearly 80 years later, he was among the first Chelsea Pensioners to receive a vaccine for COVID-19 - and he's looking forward to hugging his five children soon.

Here is his story.

I trained as a paratrooper in 1943 and at times you felt terrified.

But you just had to get a grip of yourself and get on with it. All I can say is, I remember the war years when we stood by ourselves when the whole of Europe was overrun.

We need to remember those days and think this pandemic as another obstacle to beat.

It is difficult, I do miss my family in Windsor.

The pandemic has affected me the same as everyone else, it doesn't matter that Windsor isn't that far away, they can't come here.

Normally the pensioners are also invited to all sorts of functions, but that has stopped, and I've missed that. But more than that, I miss my children.

If I hadn't become a Chelsea Pensioner, I think I would have been really isolated, and I know a lot of people are experiencing that.

I do feel very fortunate to be at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

I only became a Chelsea Pensioner in my 90s, and am being well looked after in the midst of all this.

What I'm looking forward to most is being able to see my family, to have visitors, and maybe to get back to Windsor.

I'm not at all nervous about the vaccine. I had so many inoculations and jabs when I first joined the army, for D-Day we had vaccines, so the needle doesn't worry me at all.

I'm just pleased that I was one of the lucky ones to be vaccinated.