As a diving officer in the Royal Navy David Bartlett travelled the world and his wife Dorothy was by his side.
The couple, from Farlington, Portsmouth, celebrated their diamond wedding with a party at Southwick Park Golf Club. Instead of presents, guests donated to the couple’s second honeymoon, a five-day stay in Bournemouth.
‘We have had a lovely life, and who knows – it could continue for many years to come,’ says Dorothy.
Dorothy, 79, met David, 81, through her brother, who was also in the navy. Their first meeting was outside The Crown and Cushion in Haslemere.
The pair were married in St Stephen’s Church, Shottermill, near Haslemere, and honeymooned at Herne Bay, Kent.
They had only been married for two months when David was involved in the HMS Sidon accident in 1955, which killed 13 men onboard.
The best news to come out of that was finding out that we were expecting when I was in the hospitalDavid Bartlett on surviving the HMS Sidon accident in 1955
David says: ‘We were loading torpedoes for exercises when one of them exploded. My last memory before waking up in the hospital was the blast of hot air coming through the submarine.
‘The best news to come out of that was finding out that we were expecting when I was in the hospital.’
The couple have three children – Dennis, 58, Dawn, 56, and Andrew, 51.
They moved to Portsmouth in 1960, and eight years later relocated to Malta, where David disposed of submerged explosives from the Second World War.
‘There were quite a few explosions while we were out there,’ says David. ‘It was lovely having the family there. It made the job worthwhile.’
‘The children were an ideal age to take with us and fitted into the schools well,’ says Dorothy. ‘It was lovely, such a different lifestyle.’
Dorothy was a volunteer for the Women’s Royal Voluntary Services for 25 years, for which she was awarded the long service medal.
A highlight of David’s career was leading a team that raised the Temple of Augustus Caesar from the river Nile after it became submerged when two dams were built. For his work in Egpyt, David was made an MBE in 1983.