Twins remember Days of their lives as they turn 90
THEIR personalities are as different as chalk and cheese but, to look at, Eric and Ronald Day are identical.
The twins, who are celebrating their 90th birthday, have gone through life as mirror images of each other.
But, since their schooldays, they've followed very different paths. The careers they pursued were a world apart, as was their military service during the Second World War – literally.
The twins were born in Mark Beech near Edenbridge but grew up in Kemsing, where their father, Henry, was a gardener.
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Eric still lives in Kent but Ron has spent the last 40 years with wife Betty in Devon, and the couple settled in Uffculme.
The brothers got together in Exeter recently to celebrate their birthday, on January 18.
Eric said: "Our mother, Rose, didn't know she was carrying twins until the day we were born. I think it was a bit of a surprise.
"I'm the oldest by 14 minutes."
Ron joked that, had they been royals, his delayed arrival could have cost him the crown: "My timekeeping wasn't that great in those days," he said.
As the twins grew up, their time at a small village school caused constant confusion.
"They couldn't tell us apart,"
said Ron, "so they tied a blue ribbon to one of us and a pink one to the other. But the teachers could never remember which one was wearing which ribbon, so it didn't really work."
Eric added: "There were occasions when I'd get blamed for something Ron had done and vice versa, but most of the time we were good kids."
The confusion continued well into their early adulthood.
Kath, 87, said: "Their looks have changed as they've grown older but, in their younger days, they were hard to tell apart.
"When I first started seeing Eric, Ron used to ride his bike past my home on his way to work.
I used to think it was Eric and would wave out. But that's the only time I've got the two confused."
The brothers are dismissive of the myth that identical twins have a psychic link. "We didn't," said
Eric. "There was a "50-bob" tailors on the corner of Pembroke Road, Sevenoaks, that had loads of suits.
"Ron and I went in there on different days and, without realising it, bought identical suits.
But that's the only incidence of us doing anything similar."
Beyond their looks, the brothers had nothing in common in terms of skills and ambitions.
Eric became a carpenter while Ron went into retail, running a mobile grocery van.
They didn't even have a similar approach to the Second World War. Ron joined the Royal Air Force as ground crew – initially supporting a Spitfire squadron at Biggin Hill before heading to India and the Pacific.
Eric joined the Royal Engineers, building bridges and infrastructure as the Allies pushed into occupied Europe.
Even today, they lead very different lives. Eric lives with Kath in Seal.
Ron moved to Bampton where he ran a small grocery shop, later he and Betty moved to Petton Cross and ran a small supermarket in Feniton.
They later moved to Cullompton before moving to Uffculme. They are members of St Andrew's Church, Cullompton.
Eric and Kath have three children, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren (with a fourth on the way).
Ron and Betty, 91, have three children, eight grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
"Two of our great granddaughters are twins," said Ron. "But they're totally different characters."