Stroud man is Britain's luckiest after cheating death 14 times.
THE luckiest man in Britain lives in Gloucest- ershire and has cheated death 14 times.
Alec Alder, who has reached a milestone 90 years of age, has survived car crashes, war-time bombings and even remained unscathed after a fighter plane smashed through his window as he slept.
Further miraculous escapes include a 15ft fall from a tree and a close shave when he avoided being sent to Dunkirk in 1939 – where, sadly, his whole squadron were killed.
Now the grandfather-of-six from Stroud says he must be "the luckiest fella alive".
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The first of his near-death experiences came as a 10-year-old boy, when he was hit by a car as he cycled down a narrow country lane.
Mr Alder said: "I went straight into the car, up into the air and landed spread-eagled on the bonnet".
Amazingly, the driver turned out to be a doctor who treated him at the scene.
A decade later and Mr Alder's life was saved once more, following the outbreak of the First World War.
In October 1939, at age 21, he was drafted into the Gloucestershire Regiment of the Territorial Army (TA) and his squadron was called up to fight at Dunkirk.
Mr Alder's wedding to his fiance Ada was brought forward by two months and he was given five days leave.
When he returned to his barracks after his honeymoon, his former company marched out to Dunkirk but he was sent to Cheltenham.
Less than six weeks later, his entire troop was killed.
Mr Alder, a retired coal merchant, said: "All my friends got killed at Dunkirk and I should have been with them."
In 1942, he was in Yorkshire, when a tank came within inches of hitting his chest and head, but rolled harmlessly over his foot instead.
Mr Alder said: "Fortunately, the ground was muddy and it pushed my foot and leg into the mud."
That year Mr Alder was posted to Devon, where he stayed with relatives. As he slept, a British fighter crashed into the house.
He said: "The roof collapsed around me and the plane burst into flames and crashed back into the garden. If it had been two feet lower, it would have burst into flames in my room."
Towards the end of the war, Mr Alder was sent to Burma where he broke his leg playing football. He ended up in hospital in India where a ward matron saved his life and he became a Christian.
Mr Alder later worked as a church minister in the Stroud region and explains his survival by saying: "I think it was divine purpose".
His wife, Ada, died last year. Their children Paul and Maureen, are 67 and 60 and have six children.