He’s Britain’s ‘youngest’ army major – and he’s celebrating his 12th birthday today!
Reserve Training Major Liam Howley, who lives in Washington, was actually born on February 29, 1968, so is only celebrating his 12th proper birthday in 48 years.
Liam is part of 201 (Northern) Field Hospital whose role is to provide critical care to deployed forces.
He will be celebrating his birthday by bringing a cake into the Northumberland County Council offices, where he works in his day job.
Liam said: “Every four years I get a deluge of cards and messages on Facebook.
“I get a bit of stick about being born on a leap year but most people are just interested, they say: ‘I’ve never met anyone with that birthday before’.
“I’m going to enjoy it because my next birthday I’ll be 13 so I’ll be entering into my difficult teenage years.”
Liam is responsible for training around 140 reserve soldiers at 201 Field Hospital.
The unit works closely with the NHS and many of the reserve soldiers are doctors and nurses in their day jobs.
Liam, who has recently completed a master’s degree in strategic public sector management, is currently leading on a project to teach military planning and decision making to senior NHS managers.
He is also organising an upcoming nursing revalidation training day for Army and NHS nurses.
Liam has been in the reserves for 15 years after joining up because he fancied a new challenge. He was deployed in Iraq in 2003 as part of Operation Telic 2, something which tied in with his work in public health protection.
He said: “It was a good way of developing my civilian job in a military environment.
“In Iraq we dealt with lots of environmental health challenges which you would not see in the UK, such as malaria and rabies.”
Although Liam is in work on his birthday he managed to celebrate over the weekend enjoying “lots of nice food and drink” with his wife Helena.
Liam says that most years he makes a strict habit of celebrating his birthday on March 1 because he wasn’t born on February 28.