Love took off before the war

WHEN Fred Gibbs saw Annice Connett for the first time, he said to himself “That's the girl I am going to marry”.Four years later they were engaged and a year after that they were walking up the aisle.

WHEN Fred Gibbs saw Annice Connett for the first time, he said to himself “That's the girl I am going to marry”.

Four years later they were engaged and a year after that they were walking up the aisle.

Now the couple, who live in Bulls Cliff, Garfield Road, Felixstowe, are celebrating 70 years of married life together - their platinum anniversary.

Mr and Mrs Gibbs first met when he was 20 and she just 16, hanging out with gangs of friends at Hailsham, near Eastbourne.


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“It was around Christmas 1932 the first time I saw her, and I said to myself: 'That's the girl I a going to marry',” said Mr Gibbs.

“The next March though I was off to China on the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle and I didn't get back until 1935.

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“But when I returned I went home to Sussex to find out what was happening and see if she was still there - and by September 11, 1936, we were engaged and a year later to the day we married!”

Six months later Mr Gibbs was on his way again - posted abroad, expecting to serve two years in Iraq and then two years on the north west frontier. Because of the second world war, he was sent to Egypt and the desert for a year after his spell in Iraq, and was home in three years.

Mrs Gibbs joined the Women's Timber Corps, which among other duties cut down trees and provided wood for pit props for the mines to ensure there was fuel, for four years.

Mr Gibbs served 33 years in the Royal Air Force, rising to the rank of squadron leader.

After leaving the military, he worked for Dresser, a company which made high-powered compressors for the oil industry to be used on oil wells to extract the fuel. He worked in London, Brussels and Le Havre.

Mr Gibbs, 95, and Mrs Gibbs, 91, have moved home 35 times during their married life and settled in Felixstowe 17 years ago, moving to Suffolk to be closer to their son Robert. They also have two granddaughters and three great-grandchildren.

“We have had 35 moves but we think Felixstowe is the best - the place is lovely and the people are so friendly and nice,” he said.

Are you celebrating a longer wedding anniversary? Contact the Evening Star Newsdesk on 01473 324788.

FASTFACTS: anniversary years

One year - paper

Five years - wood

Ten years - aluminium and tin

25 years - silver

30 years - pearl

35 years - coral

40 years - ruby

45 years - sapphire

50 years - gold

55 years - emerald

60 years - diamond

70 years - platinum

FASTFACTS: 1937

Tensions were growing in Europe with everyone watching closely Hitler's rise to power in Germany.

Following the Abdication of Edward VIII to marry Mrs Wallis Simpson, George VI was crowned at Westminster Abbey on May 12. The BBC TV coverage of the event was the first large scale outside broadcast in Britain - watched by about 50,000 people.

Conservative politician Neville Chamberlain became Prime Minister following Stanley Baldwin's resignation.

First issue of the comic book Detective Comics, which introduced Batman, published in the USA - and is still printed today.

In the USA, the German airship Hindenburg burst into flames when mooring to a mast in Lakehurst, New Jersey.

The Golden Gate Bridge linking San Francisco and Marin County opened.

Around 11,000 people were killed in The Great Hong Kong Typhoon.

Britain began use of the 999 emergency phone number.

Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first feature-length animated cartoon, opened and became a smash hit.

Famous people born included Shirley Bassey, Vanessa Redgrave, Boris Spassky, Tom Courtenay, Warren Beatty, Saddam Hussein, Jack Nicholson, David Hockney, Bobby Charlton, Anthony Hopkins, Gordon Banks and Jane Fonda.

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