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- People in story:
- Mrs McInulty, Peter, Mary
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- 13 May 2005
This is really my sister-in-law’s story.
My sister-in-law Mary (my husband’s sister) was due to get married on the Saturday after the Blitz. They’d taken all the wedding presents to the Co-Op, where they were to have the reception, on the Thursday afternoon. Well of course, the Co-Op was blown to smithereens- and all the presents with it!
On Friday the groom, Peter, went to the church of Christ the King in Coundon, where they were to get married, to find out a) whether it was still standing and b) that the register was still intact. Both had survived. The priest said ‘Providing they don’t come back tonight, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t carry on’.
Our next job was to check on the people providing the wedding cars. They were still there. ‘Provide a house’, they said, ‘and we’ll find a route from there to the church’ (all the roads had been altered by the bombing). So we picked Peter’s mother’s house, in Earlsdon, because it was the biggest we could find.
On the Saturday, my future husband (then my fiancé) and I walked into the city to see the damage. It was hard to comprehend that such a thing had happened. In the end we had only two cars: one for Peter’s family and one for Mary’s. I was bridesmaid, by the way. We went on a real ride to get to Coundon station. It wasn’t open, but they were working on the lines to get them going again as soon as possible. The workmen gave us such a reception- a huge cheer went up as the wedding party passed, and they were all hanging off the rails! Just one example of how life was going on, despite the war.
The wedding cake had been destroyed along with the presents at the Co-Op. So (and this is the most heart-breaking part) the groom’s mother used the Christmas cake that she’d luckily already made. It wasn’t iced, or anything, but Peter and Mary cut it just like a proper wedding cake.
Afterwards, the guests went to Ma Coopers in Earlsdon (the pub on the corner) and I was sent to Broomfield Rd to get the wedding breakfast- fish and chips for 25 people! Little did I know that the King and Queen, who’d come to Coventry to inspect the damage, were just round the corner at the laundry on Kensington Rd whilst I was in the shop- I missed it all!
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