World War II veteran Wallace Keown Shirley reveals secret to longevity on 102nd birthday

After only being expected to live a couple of days when he was born, World War II veteran Wallace Keown Shirley celebrated his 102nd birthday on Friday. 

Born in Gore in 1920, Keown was only expected to live a couple of days due to being underweight and premature.

"The hospital in Gore said that he probably wouldn't survive more than two or three days, here we are 102 years later," Keown's son Ken told AM.

Keown says it was his nurse called Lucy Wallace who kept him alive, and he was called 'Wallace' after her.

Keown is one of the few WWII veterans remaining on the Kāpiti Coast where he lives now, and Ken says he is active in the Otaki RSA.

Keown and his six brothers fought in WWII and all returned home. Keown was a telegraphist in the Royal New Zealand Navy monitoring the Japanese signals around the Pacific.

Now he has had a letter from the Prime Minister and the Government General at 100 years old, but Ken says Keown hasn't received his letter from the Queen yet.

He is celebrating his big day at his retirement home the Sevenoaks retirement village which is putting on two shows for him and then on Saturday he is going out for dinner with his family.

Keown's secret to longevity: Whipped cream and whiskey.

"I have one whiskey a day," Keown says.