An ex-serviceman has finally paid back a fiver he borrowed from a buddy half a century ago – with £170 interest.
Former para David ‘Taffy’ Keegan, 73, lost touch with Victor Allin after they left the armed forces.
But he never forgot the fiver Victor lent him in 1964 and paid up as soon as they made contact again.
And to make amends he sent his old mate more than £170 – calculated at 7 per cent annual interest.
The cheque arrived in a Christmas card with the message: “Please accept the enclosed £5 at 7 per cent compound interest over 51 years in the spirit in which it is offered.
“Have a nice meal on your interest.”
Victor, 74, a greatgrandad-of-four from Kennington, Kent, said: “It was such a nice shock.
“I’m pleased Taffy has now salved his conscience, as he told me that it often played on his mind.”
Victor, who has four children and 12 grandchildren, met Mr Keegan in 1958 when they both served with the 3rd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment.
They lost contact in 1964 and Mr Keegan moved to Sydney, Australia, where he has lived ever since.
They got back in touch last year when Victor decided to look up his old friend and called him out of the blue.
He said: “Taffy came on the phone and the first words he said to me were ‘I still owe you a fiver’. I had no memory of it.”
The pair are planning to meet up for a slap-up reunion dinner when Mr Keegan arrives for a visit paid for with the repaid cash.
Mr Keegan, who has lived in Sydney since 1973, said he had always felt guilty about the debt.
He said: “Many is the time I woke worrying about owing a good mate a loan given without hesitation when I most needed it.
“Imagine my surprise when I worked out that five pounds at compound interest over the time meant I had to repay Vic one hundred and seventy pounds and seventy five pence.
“I suppose the moral of the story is, don’t wait 50 years to repay an old mate a fiver.”
Former para David ‘ lost touch with Victor after they left the armed forces.
The pair served in Cyprus, Germany, France and Bahrain, where their aircraft was blown up on the runway by angry locals and their soup poisoned by a rogue chef.
They lost contact in 1964 and Mr Keegan moved to Sydney, Australia, where he has lived ever since with his wife.
The former comrades only made contact again when the Allins decided to look Mr Keegan up when they were on holiday in Prestatyn, in North Wales last year, as they knew he had once lived there.
Mr Allin said: “We found the address for a Keegan and we went to see him. We asked if he knew David, and he told us it was his brother.
“He gave me quite a scare because he said we were 40 years too late. We thought he had died! But it turned out he had moved away many years ago.”
After inviting them in, Mr Keegan’s brother, John, immediately Skyped David in Sydney, Australia, where he now lives, to tell him his old mate had come to visit.
Mr Allin says: “He came on the phone and the first words he said to me were ‘I still owe you a fiver’. I had no memory of it.”
Mr Keegan said he had needed to borrow the money because he was “absolutely skint”.
He said: “Vic was flush with funds which I suspect could only have been amassed from a game of poker or a successful visit to the White City greyhounds.
“As our pay at the time was four pound ten shillings plus an extra eight shillings a week for jumping out of planes, you can imagine what the ten pounds he lent me meant at the time.”
“I managed to repay Vic half of what I owed him in 1964, leaving a fiver to be repaid at a later date. Time marched on and as often happens between good mates we lost touch with each other.
“We have stayed in touch since and I am looking forward to shaking his hand when I visit him and his wife later this month whilst on my way to Paris.
“The idea of facing him still owing him a fiver was too embarrassing, so I decided to repay him with interest before I arrived in Ashford.”
In his Christmas card to Victor, Taffy wrote: “When I left for Paris in 1962 I owed you #10. I repaid a fiver when I saw you in Aldershot in 1964 on my way to Tokyo for the 1964 Games. So please accept the enclosed #5 at 7 per cent compound interest over 51 years in the spirit in which it is offered.”
The letter concluded: “Have a nice meal on your interest.”
Mr Allin says he will spend his interest on a slap-up meal for the pair at the Eastwell Manor Hotel in Kent.
He added: “I’m really looking forward to seeing him. It is an exciting time. It will probably be the one and only time we see each other again.
“The cheque was a by-product really, the best thing is that we’re now back in touch.”