Harry and Helen Lewington remember their engagement fondly, even though they were at opposite sides of the world and he had to wait weeks for a reply.
Harry was in the Royal Navy and had been posted to the Far East during the Korean War.
He had proposed to Helen before he left but while he was away sent a letter asking her dad for permission.
He didn’t get the go-ahead for some time. ‘He didn’t actually write to me but Helen let me know everything was fine. But it was by letter which was quite slow. I think it was about four weeks,’ says Harry.
It was a difficult time but Harry says he was a prolific letter writer and they kept in touch as often as possible.
The couple, who now live in Gosport, were engaged on Helen’s birthday in June 1952 and married on December 22 shortly after Harry’s return. Harry, now 84, was an aircraft artificer in the navy for 24 years and then worked in the Professional Technology Branch of the Ministry of Defence.
Helen, now 80, was a library assistant in Gosport for 16 years.
The couple have already celebrated their diamond wedding with family and friends, but they’ll be having a meal on their own on the actual day.
They’ll also soon be visiting their son Michael, a retired army colonel and the current chief executive of charity Calibre, at his home near Oxford.
Harry says: ‘We’ve been very lucky, we just hit it off. Perhaps it’s because we were in the services, we seem to have been able to deal with anything that has come along. And we’ve been very tolerant. I think that’s very important particularly in the first few years when two people are trying to adjust to each other’