A FORMER Sandwell police chief and WWII veteran has turned 100 and to mark the milestone occasion West Midlands Police colleagues paid a visit to his care home to say 'happy birthday'.

Joseph Spencer Brown, known to friends and family as Joe, was born in Willenhall on June 4, 1921.

Policing ran in the family, with Joe’s father being a retired police inspector from Staffordshire.

He went to school in the Cannock and Bloxwich areas and left at age 17 and became one of the first cadets to join Staffordshire County Police in 1939.

In 1942 he was called up for military service and joined the Leicester Regiment and later the Artillery.

Joe saw action in northern France, including the liberation of Caen and the D-Day landings in Normandy in 1944 on Sword Beach.

He went on to serve in Holland and Germany, before he was discharged from the Army in 1945.

His courageous efforts saw him awarded the Legion D'honneur in 2015 by the French government for his active service in France.

Life didn’t slow down for Joe after he arrived back on UK soil.

He re-joined Staffordshire Police and served various communities including Tettenhall, Wednesfield, Willenhall, Newcastle-Under-Lyme and Leek, and in 1963 was appointed Chief Inspector at West Bromwich.

In 1966 a new force known as the West Midlands Constabulary was created, which incorporated five county boroughs along with parts of Staffordshire and Worcestershire.

On the creation of this force, Joe was promoted to Deputy Superintendent at West Bromwich and just two years later in 1968 he was promoted again to Chief Superintendent and went to Smethwick.

In 1974 West Midlands Constabulary amalgamated with various police forces to form the force now known as West Midlands Police.

On the amalgamation into WMP, Joe became divisional commander of Sandwell as Chief Superintendent, before retiring in 1977.

This same year he was awarded the Queen's Police Medal (QPM) for his distinguished service.

Not one to rest on his laurels, he went to work for a solicitors for 10 years before fully retiring and enjoying a well-earned rest.

As well as an active career, Joe has had a bustling home life.

He married his wife Joan in 1943 and they had two children – a son and daughter. The couple spent 66 years together before his wife passed away in 2009.

To mark his 100th birthday today, police visited Joe at his care home in Oldbury and gave him a card signed by the Chief Constable to mark the special occasion.