WHEN a pair of eyes peered up at young Agnes Mcphee from a coal cellar, it was love at first sight.

Able seaman George Larkins had been posted to Port Glasgow, Scotland, as part of the war effort.

Accommodation for Navy seamen was not ready, so locals stepped in to put the men up.

Mr Larkins, of Lambourne Crescent, Bicester, was posted with a neighbour of Agnes, and when she delivered their newspaper, the pair met for the first time.

Seventy years later the couple have celebrated their platinum wedding anniversary.

The couple courted for about a year, and were married on May 26, 1944 – 11 days before the D-Day landings.

Mrs Larkins, 88, said: “The people I worked for saved up the clothing coupons and took me to Glasgow to get my wedding outfit.

“Everything was given to me.”

Sadly, two days after they were wed, the couple were separated for two years when Mr Larkins, 90, was shipped to Folkestone for military duties.

He was responsible for loading tanks and equipment on to boats ready for the D-Day landings.

Towards the end of World War Two he was sent to America and Canada, where he joined HMS Galloway to travel on to Singapore to guard Japanese prisoners of war.

He described on one occasion how they were taken to the notorious Changi Prison, where British servicemen were held during the war.

Mr Larkins said: “We didn’t stop there, we just went there. What food we had we gave it to them, they took it very quickly.”

After the war, Mr Larkins settled in Bicester with his new bride. They lived in Nissen huts off Launton Road for about three years before moving into their home in Lambourne Crescent.

Mr Larkins, a former player for Bicester Bowls Club, initially worked as a bricklayer for Kingerly Builders, and built some of his neighbours’ homes as well as houses in Victoria and Launton roads.

He later went to work for BT, where he stayed for 37 years, and was also a retained fireman at Bicester fire station in Queens Avenue for 28 years.

Mrs Larkins worked in the cash and carry, at the former Winners site in Victoria Road and Woolworths, in Sheep Street.

The Oxford Times:

  • The young couple

The couple had two daughters Jean Turner, 67, and Joyce Macer, 64, and have three grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

Asked the secret of a long and happy marriage, Mr Larkins said: “We agree with each other and we look after each other.”

The couple will celebrate their big day at a family meal and instead of hosting a party will make a donation to Guide Dogs for the Blind as Mrs Larkins’ father was blind.


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