THE last living resident of Dorset’s ghost village has returned for a final visit to his family home.

Peter Wellman, 99, was born and raised in Tyneham before its 250 residents were forced out in 1943 to enable the army to extend its ranges during the Second World War.

He is the last living person to have lived in the village, after the death of childhood friend Peggy Read died at the age of 94 last year.

Villagers were told they would be able to return to their homes after the war, but they were never allowed back.

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Peter had attended the annual memorial service at Tyneham, until last year.

He returned to the village with his daughter Lynne and son Michael.

He visited the school he attended and the village church, which have both been restored, while the rest of the village decays with time.

Peter said: “I don’t suppose I’ll ever come back, which is a shame. After Peggy died I am the last person to have been born and raised here.

“I do love it here and people are always very interested in hearing about what life was like. But we knew no different.

“We had no electricity, no mains gas and no running water – we had to pump that from near the church. There’s a tap there now.

“I remember going to the beach and fishing and we often had mackerel. We were happy until we got moved out.”

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Peter’s family connections with the village go back generations.

He began working at a nearby farm at 14, where he stayed for 36 years, before getting a job in the clay industry until his retirement.

He recalled watching a dogfight in the sky above the fields he was working in during the war, and waving to the Spitfire pilot who downed an enemy plane.

Many of the villagers enjoyed long lives, which Peter put down to the lifestyle, fresh air and hard work.

The village is still on MoD land, but it is open to the public for 160 days a year and is popular for tourists.

Peter now lives in Swanage with his family close by and is the last person to speak with an authentic Tyneham valley voice, which has a rich, velvety Dorset burr.

He has two children, two grandchildren, three great grandchildren and two great great grandchildren.