Wedding Wednesday – Wartime Hitch

My Parents married on 4th January 1941 at St James Church in Grimsby Lincolnshire. Grimsby was my mother’s home town but at some point she moved about 30 miles away to Sutton-on-Sea on the Lincolnshire coast to help my dad run a little glass and china business. My brother married in the same church 30 years later because, coincidentally, he married a Grimsby girl.
  
 
Both my parents had unusual surnames. Mum was a Britliffe – more commonly spelt with a ’c’ as in Britcliffe and Dad’s name was Espley. They also both had shortened versions of first names – Dad was Fred rather than Fredrick and mum was Bessie which is usually given to girls christened as Elizabeth.  
 

I’m not sure how my parents met. Both are now dead so I can’t ask. My Dad died in 1977 before I took any interest in their history and I never had the sort of relationship with my mum that lead to any discussion about ‘the old days’. In her later years when Mike started to research our family history she had great difficulty understanding why we would want to do such a thing.

Anyway I think my father must have been stationed in Grimsby during the war. He had a bout of polio when he was small and was deaf in one ear so wasn’t sent overseas. Certainly at some point dad was moved to Pontefract, West Yorkshire, because I know mum visited him at the barracks there. I am not sure if this was before or after the wedding.

Dad was nine years older than mum. Her dad was suspicious of this and told her that Fred was probably already married with kids. Mum disliked her dad and he didn’t attend the wedding. I am not sure whether he was working, he simply chose not to go or mum asked him not to attend.

My Uncle Jack – Mum’s brother- second from the right in the photo, gave her away. Dad’s Best Man was his brother Frank. The smallest two Bridesmaids are my cousins Shirley and Tessa but I don’t know the identities of anyone else in the photo.

The dresses were all made of velvet which must have been fabulous for a winter wedding. I am not sure how they got hold of all this fabric during the war. I believe the small Bridesmaids were in lilac and perhaps, therefore, the grown up attendants were in purple. The two colours would seem to go together.

The other thing I know is that mum had asked dad to buy a suit as she didn’t want him to get married in his army uniform. Obviously he ignored her! Luckily it didn’t make her change her mind and they were happily married for 36 years.

Jayne

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