Woman, 105, is among last people alive whose father was killed in WWI

Joyce Dawes marked her 105th birthday this week Credit: ITV News Meridian

A woman from Ashford in Kent is thought to be one of the last people living whose father was killed in the First World War.

Joyce Dawes, who marked her 105th birthday on Tuesday, May 3, lost her father, Second Lieutenant Alexander Cowling, when he was killed by an artillery shell defending the Belgian village of Voormezele in the Great War in April 1918.

She still has letters written by him from the front line including one dated March 1918, asking to know how baby Joyce was.

On her birthday, a tree was planted in Ashford's Memorial Gardens in honour of Joyce's long life, as well as her father's service to the country.

Second Lieutenant Alexander Cowling was killed defending a Belgian village in the Great War in 1918 Credit: ITV News Meridian

The liquidambar tree is also part of the Queen's Green Canopy Project to mark the Platinum Jubilee.

Cllr Andrew Buchanan, from Ashford Borough Council, said: 'We had this this sort of trilogy, really, of the Platinum Jubilee, 105th birthday, and obviously in the Memorial Gardens, there's the link to Joyce's father, because we believe she's the last person living whose father was killed in the First World War because you'd have to be at least 104 for that to have happened.

"So it's an astonishing achievement, really."

Joyce says he would have approved of the tree. As to the secret is for living to 105, she said: "I played some sport. I don't smoke, I drink very little. The sport, I was never awfully good. I played sport well enough to enjoy... but not to make a fool of myself."


WATCH: Abigail Bracken filmed this report in Ashford for ITV News Meridian