Stevenage couple celebrate wedding anniversary 70 years after quickfire ceremony in Second World War

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A Stevenage couple remembered their wartime wedding when they celebrated their 70th anniversary last week.

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Frank and Gwen Luff only had four days to prepare for their big day before he was shipped off to fight the Japanese on a Royal Navy frigate in the dying days of the Second World War.

Their son Alan said: “Their wedding breakfast consisted of just a little bit of ham, half a cucumber and a leaking jar of pickled onions. It was wartime, after all.

“He did request a leave extension for a day or two for a honeymoon but this was refused so he returned to his ship on the following Monday.”

The couple were only 21 and 18 at the time and decided to get married after Frank survived the invasion of Sicily and D-Day unscathed and thought his luck might run out in Japan.


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Before the marriage could go ahead they needed a special licence which Frank, 91, managed to obtain from a verger in a local pub.

While Frank was en route to the Far East the Japanese surrendered after American forces dropped atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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It meant Frank could return to Gwen, 81 – but that wasn’t so warmly received by the mostly New Zealand crew who were now heading further away from home.

After the war the couple settled in Borehamwood where they had three sons, Alan, Derek and Nigel.

They remained there until 10 years ago when they moved to Stevenage Old Town so that they could be closer to Alan.

More than 20 members of their family attended a barbecue to celebrate their marriage milestone..

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