Gosnells couple celebrate 75th anniversary of wartime wedding

Joan and Fred Whittaker recently celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary.
Joan and Fred Whittaker recently celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary.

WORLD War II was never going to stop Fred and Joan Whittaker from celebrating their love.

The Gosnells couple celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary earlier in August, having tied the knot in England in 1942.

Fred recalled meeting Joan for the first time when she was just twelve years old, although they did not start dating til four years later.

When the war broke, Fred joined the Royal Air Force and said he negotiated a three-day pass out for his wedding, a vacation he overstayed by a day.

“I got seven days jankers (a punishment which meant confinement to camp) and the others asked me was it worth it,” he said.

“I told them I almost said to the commanding officer, ‘Can I do another seven days for another day off?’

“The commanding officer was taunting me and said ‘the war doesn’t stop just because you’re getting married,’ and I said ‘I didn’t expect it too!’”

Despite their limited time together, the couple enjoyed a “beautiful” ceremony at St Mary’s church in Kent.

They were forced to spend time apart during the war when Fred was stationed in Portugal for a couple of years, which left Joan alone in London as the German bombs dropped.

After the war finished, the pair initially rebuilt their lives in London, before they moved to Australia in 1958.

They admitted, like any couple, they had their ups and downs but were always willing to talk out any issues.

“We’ve had our ups and downs like anybody. Anyone who says they’ve never had a row, they’re telling fibs,” Joan said.

“Our troubles, we talk them out. A lot of people just walk away from it, but we’ve done all the right things,” Fred said.

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