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15 October 2014
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A Wedding In The Blitz

by liathach

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Contributed by 
liathach
People in story: 
William(Bill) and Helena Butchart
Location of story: 
Covent Garden, London
Background to story: 
Royal Air Force
Article ID: 
A6893553
Contributed on: 
11 November 2005

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My mother and father were both born in 1912 in Arbroath in the North East of Scotland.
My father joined the RAF as a "boy" soldier long before war started. At the time he married he was a Flight Sergeant stationed at RAF Abingdon in Oxfordshire, the base of Bomber Command's No 10 Operational Training Unit.
My mother was working in Arbroath and travelled down to London for their wedding. As fate would have it, they married on 14 September 1940 at Crown Court Church of Scotland in Covent Garden - a week after the start of the London Blitz.
The Church magazine of the time recorded that "during the recent intensive bombing of London, although the bombs fell close to both the Church and the Manse......we can record that no serious damage has been sustained. The doors of the Church were burst open by the concussion of a bomb which fell nearby."
Against this background, their marriage was a very simple one. No white wedding, no grand reception, no crowd of guests. A long way from friends and family, the ceremony was witnessed by a Rex and Margaret Howard, a husband and wife my father had met just shortly beforehand and had "roped in" for the occasion !!
After the wedding, the four of them went to Pinoli's Restaurant in Wardour Street for a celebration meal. The menu told it all. Tomato soup, fried sole, roast chicken, all written in French !! A simple fare by today's standards but a superb meal no doubt for war-torn London.
It wasn't to be long before my father had to return to Abingdon and my mother went back the 500 miles to Arbroath. Thankfully, they both survived the war, for which my sister and I and our families are truly grateful.

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