Romance grew despite all the hardships of war

Joyce and Len Hackett
Joyce and Len Hackett
Dr John Steadman, archivist of Portsmouth History Centre based at Portsmouth Central Library     Picture:  Malcolm Wells

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The Second World War was an extremely difficult time for many, with regular air raids and the bombing of Portsmouth.

But there were moments of happiness too – especially for Joyce and Len Hackett, who met and married during the war.

Joyce and Len Hackett's wedding day in 1942

Joyce and Len Hackett's wedding day in 1942

Now celebrating their platinum wedding anniversary after 70 years together, the happy couple were married on July 6, 1942.

At just 17 and 19, they met each other through mutual friends, and were married at the St Bartholomew Church in Southsea, which has now been demolished.

At the time, Len was in the army and spent a lot of time away from his wife. The couple went on to have three daughters, Maureen, Sandy and Cindi.

After the war, Len went back to being a sailmaker, a trade he’d entered at the age of 14.

He carried on being employed as a sailmaker for the next 48 years. Their daughter, Sandy, says: ‘I remember when we would come home as teenagers and he would have this big rope attached to the front door right through the house to the back of the kitchen.

‘We weren’t allowed in until he had finished!’

To celebrate their special wedding anniversary, Joyce and Len’s daughters treated them to a four-day break in Hayling Island and also surprised them with a family meal.

On their actual anniversary they went out for a meal and were given a bouquet of flowers.

Joyce and Len have six grandchildren – Andrew, Simon, Darren, Samantha, Donna and Daniel.

They also have five great-grandchildren – Grace, Abbey, Harvey, Adam and Claire, and three great-great-grandchildren – Jake, Indiah and Riley.

Joyce says: ‘I think the secret is to have a lot of give and take. We get on well so we have always been happy together.’