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15 October 2014
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My VJ Day Proposal

by BBC Southern Counties Radio

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Contributed by 
BBC Southern Counties Radio
People in story: 
Dorothy Parker; Grace Jenkins; Arthur Jenkins
Location of story: 
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
02 June 2005

This story has been added by Paula Thompson a CSV volunteer for BBC Southern Counties radio on behalf of Dorothy Parker and has been added to the site with her permission. Dorothy fully understands the sites terms and conditions.

The pleasant Jenkins Family lived in Edinburgh. The father was a Naval Officer commanding travel- Waverly Station. His daughter Grace, a nurse, was sent to a hospital near us. My Dad met her at Church and invited her to treat our house as home. She was O.K. and spent her free time with us (except I lent her my final school prize ‘Pride and Prejudice’ which she lost- irreplaceable!) Her parents visited - nice folk.

They had a son Arthur, six months younger than I, a naval draughtsman. With V.J. Day looming he was invited to stay with us and explore London. Being a Bank Holiday on the 15th I gave him a guided tour finishing at the Palace where there was singing and cheering - although not as fervent as VE day. We came home very late and my parents were in bed. To my horror (almost) Arthur proposed. We hadn’t even held hands! I had lost my fiancé during the allied landing in Italy 10.07.43 and was not looking for another husband — so I said sorry but no. Next morning was a working day so breakfast was early. Mum asked if we’d had a good day and mentioned she thought he would have proposed. "He did" I said — joy unconfined "I said no’"
“Why?” she asked
“I don’t love him. I don’t even know him.” Oh woe!

After that the navy sent Arthur to Singapore. Then for weeks after that at breakfast Mum would say “I wonder what poor Arthur is doing today? I wonder how poor Arthur is?” I told Mum later that if I had had a leaning towards him I would have been put off by her remarks. She stopped.

A year later there was a bit in the personal ads of The Telegraph. “Doff I still love you, Arthur.” His parents sent the cutting to mine. I guess Mrs Jenkins sent it. I think it must have been intended for me — not many girls are called Doff. So that is my VJ memory.

I was singing in the Church Choir when a fellow member nudged me and pointed to the name of a tune composer D.Jenkins. That would have been me if I’d married “Poor Arthur” He later married a church organist with two daughters in Orpington my parents went. Poor Arthur- poor me!

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