Surviving war apart to clock up 70 years

FROM a honeymoon in Hope to the hell of war.

That’s how it was for Gordon Couldwell and his wife Kathleen when they tied the knot 70 years ago.

Gordon and Kathleen, known to friends and family as Kit, met at a family wedding, fell in love and became engaged.

But in November 1941 Gordon received his posting to India.

Within minutes of the news he was on the phone to ask Kit if she could arrange a wedding for Sunday – just three days away.

She agreed and they went on to marry at St Paul’s Church, Norton Lees.

Then, after a two-day honeymoon in Hope, they had to part and did not see each other again for more than four years.

Gordon was posted to India and Pakistan where it was his job to round up bandits – often chasing them through hazardous regions on a camel.

In the meantime, Kit joined the Land Army and spent her war at Manor House Farm, near Chesterfield.

After the war the couple moved in with Gordon’s parents before moving to their present home on Denbank Crescent, Crosspool, in 1947.

Gordon, now aged 93, joined Mappin and Webbs where he rose to the position of cutlery manager. He later became a training officer for the National Coal Board, organising training and apprenticeships, and many competitions for first aid, firefighting, civil defence and fishing.

Gordon retired about 1978 and his main interest since then has been investigating family history.

He said: “It’s very interesting. The Couldwells have lived and worked in the Sheffield and Bradfield area for hundreds of years.”

Kit, now 90, remained a housewife and a very busy one at that, looking after the children, the huge garden, dog and home.

She also made clothes, cared for elderly relatives, enjoyed keep fit, folk dancing, Scrabble and learned French.

To this day she still cuts 100 yards of hedge by hand, as well as digging and filling the beds with flowers and shrubs.

Kit loves sitting in the greenhouse and wandering round the small spinney of trees she has planted.

And it was gardening which meant Kit nearly missed their anniversary.

She fell off a garden chair while clipping a bush – but luckily only bruised her ribs. Gordon and Kit celebrated their anniversary with family – son Andrew, daughter Vivienne, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren – with lunch at the Yorkshire Bridge near Ladybower.