December 12 2013 Latest news:
Dominic Bareham, senior reporter
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
They say love is blind, but Sprowston couple Bertie and Evelyn Brown literally could not see each other when they met during the second world war.
For when Mr Brown, 93, met the then Evelyn Culling, 90 while on a night out with his cousin in Prince of Wales Road, Norwich the country was in the grip of the wartime blackout and neither of them could see each other clearly.
However, the lack of vision did not prevent the couple, who live in Allerton Close, from enjoying a long and successful marriage and they will be celebrating their platinum wedding anniversary today (Wednesday).
Former Royal Marine Mr Brown took the girl home, but even then he could not see her through the darkness and it was only when he sent her a photograph and wrote her a letter that she was able to see the man she would spend the next 70 years with.
Mrs Brown then sent the photo back with the message, “Thank you, your loving sweetheart.”
However, the couple then spent much of their courtship apart while Mr Brown was serving on board HMS Naiad, which was sunk by the German submarine U-565 off the coast of Crete in 1942 with the loss of 77 members of the ship’s crew.
Mr Brown spent six-and-a-half hours in the Meditteranean water before being rescued by a destroyer.
They married at St Luke’s Church in Aylsham Road on October 30, 1943 in front of more than 20 family and friends.
After leaving the Marines, Norwich man Mr Brown, who attended Bignold Road School, became a car park attendant at City Hall before retiring aged 65.
His wife, who also grew up in Norwich, worked in munitions and shoe factories and the couple lived at Canterbury Place and West Earlham before moving to their current address.
They have one daughter, Patricia Fox, 68 and a grandson Jason Blanchflower, 45.
Mr Brown said: “I would not say we have had a perfect marriage, we have had our differences, but we have made sacrifices for each other. Everything we have bought, we have worked for.”