A CLACKS veteran WWII airman was last week treated to a trip out to his home Hillfoots town as he turned 98.

William Dryburgh MBE, considered to be an absolute gentleman and Alva legend by many, enjoyed some wind in his hair once again when he embarked on a trishaw ride with Cycling Without Age Clackmannanshire.

The trip last Tuesday, November 2, marked his 98th birthday and saw him out and about in Tillicoultry and Alva where he was welcomed by dozens of smiling faces.

Willie, as he is affectionately known by many, played a big role in the life of Alva Pensioners Association and was awarded an MBE for his services to the community when he was named on the 1994 New Years Honours list.

The trip went well with trishaw pilot Robert Bocking in the saddle and with Mr Dryburgh's carer Tracy along for the ride.

The first pit-stop was Sterling Mills followed by Tillicoultry and a chat outside Forth Valley Radio.

Mr Dryburgh was then taken to Alva, where he used to stay near the bowling green, and where he enriched the life of pensioners for decades.

Many residents came out to the Co-op to wish him a happy birthday before he returned to Beechwood for his birthday lunch.

It is understood Mr Dryburgh served in 518 Squadron RAF during WWII where he was a tail gunner and retired as a flight sergeant.

Henry Gill, of Cycling Without Age Clacks, said: "We asked him how many German planes he shot down. He said three seagulls."

Indeed, the RAF's 518 was no ordinary squadron.

Flying modified Halifax bombers from the north of Scotland, the squadron was responsible for the collection of weather reports and also observed U-boat activity.

It was no easy task, even if the squadron was not sent over German skies.

The crew often flew in the most dangerous of conditions and in August 1944, 16 airmen were lost when two of the squadron's aircraft were involved in a mid-air collision in patchy clouds.

Famously, the squadron's weather reports – which covered hundreds of miles into the Atlantic – were used by Group Captain James Martin Stagg in his recommendation to General Eisenhower that the D-Day invasion of Normandy should be postponed from June 5 to June 6 in 1944.

Many Alva residents took to social media to wish Mr Dryburgh a happy 98th birthday.

Frances Lane said: "Wonderful to see an Alva legend in his home town.

"Happy birthday Willie, you're still attracting the ladies."

Anne Muench added: "Happy Birthday Willie looks like you have had a fantastic day.

"I always enjoyed OAP Christmas Dinner days.

"Best Wishes from Cloppenburg, Germany."