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85-year-old receives degree after 66 years

CARDIFF, Wales, July 18 (UPI) -- An 85-year-old Welsh man received his diploma after a 66-year hiatus from college, officials say.

Harold Jones formally received his Cardiff University diploma Monday after having missed his 1945 graduation due to World War II, the BBC reported.

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Jones, now living in Madrid, was called to complete Royal Navy training in 1945 and was never able to collect his diploma. He went on to have a successful career in engineering, though, working in Wales, the Middle East, London, the Netherlands and South Africa.

The new graduate began his studies at Cardiff in 1942, where his mother enrolled him in engineering classes.

"Some people did it to avoid getting called up, so that might have been my mother's motivation," he told the BBC. "People on the course had an added incentive to make sure they passed their exams, because if you didn't you were handed a rifle and told, 'Right, go and get some Germans.'"

He added that while at the university, he had to complete weekly fire-watching and Home Guard duties.

"We had the fire watch at night occasionally. I was also in the Home Guard manning a radar station plotting German bombers coming over."

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The grandfather of eight graduated with students more than 60 years his junior.

"It's a big thrill -- I'm probably the oldest by 40 or 50 years but that is relatively unimportant. It's just nice to be here back in Cardiff," Jones said.

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