Great-grandmother, 90, reunited with childhood sweetheart after seeing his name on a CD

May 1, 2013 | by | 0 Comments

Romantic Beryl Martin has been re-united with her childhood sweetheart after spotting his name on a CD – 70 years after they last saw each other.

Beryl, 90, and Les Hogan, 92, enjoyed bike rides and trips to the cinema as teenagers after meeting at a youth club.

But their blossoming romance was cut short by the outbreak of WWII and they lost contact when Mrs Martin left Kent to join the Women’s Royal Navy Service in 1943.

Beryl reunited with her childhood sweetheart Les and his wife Joy

Beryl Martin reunited with her childhood sweetheart Les and his wife Joy

As a treat for her 90th birthday, Mrs Martin’s daughter Ruth Reeves, 66, took her back to visit Sheerness, Kent, where she grew up, last week.

The great-grandmother-of-five was stunned when she spotted a CD called ‘Songs of Sheppey’ by her first love – ‘Les Hogan’.

Mrs Martin recognised the name as she browsed gifts in the Blue Town Heritage Centre on April 23 but could not put her finger on why.

But the penny only dropped two days later when the grandmother-of-four saw the familiar name again on a book of poetry in Minster Abbey, Kent, called ‘Beyond the Skies.’

Curious Mrs Martin then tracked her former sweetheart down through his book publisher.

The couple were reunited on Monday (29/04) at Holy Trinity Church Fellowship, Sheerness, where they reminisced about the old days.

Mr Hogan, 92, from Minster, Kent, said: “It was just incredible to see an old friend again after such a long time.

“I thought it was very interesting because not many people make 90. Most of my friends have already taken off.

“We would not have recognised each other if we had not been introduced. We just had a cheerful little talk about the old days in the Holy Trinity Church Fellowship.”

The retired teacher, who grew up in Hong Kong, added: “When I came over to England when I was about 16 I didn’t know anyone.

“I was a member of Trinity Church and the vicar said I must join the youth club, so I did and that is where I met Beryl.

“I took her to the pictures a few times. We were good friends.”

Retired teacher Mrs Martin said: “I spent four days looking at faces to see if I recognised anyone so it was lovely, just as we were leaving, to meet up with an old friend.

“It seems that we followed the same paths of serving in Navy during the War and then teaching.”

She added: “It was good and very interesting to see so much of the island because when I was there young people couldn’t afford the bus fares or weren’t allowed to walk too far from home so we hardly knew anywhere apart from the area we lived in.

“It brought back so many memories.”

Mrs Martin’s daughter Mrs Reeves, from Worcester, yesterday (Weds) said: “My mother procrastinated, but just as we were about to leave she said I should phone the number.

“When I spoke to Les and mentioned her maiden name, Beryl Tubb, he immediately said: ‘She was my first girlfriend.’

“We called in and were warmly welcomed by him and his wife Loy and they had a good chat 75, or so, years later.

“It was so exciting to see them together – it was lovely to hear them telling old stories.

“I don’t think they will see each other again as they are both quite old now.  But my mother has written Les a letter and I am sure they will keep in touch.”

Mrs Martin, nee Tubb, who now lives in Worcester, was born on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, in 1923.

She returned to Sheerness after WW2 in 1945 to get married at Holy Trinity Church to her late husband Leslie who died aged 89 in December 2011.

British Mr Hogan, who grew up in Hong Kong and came over the Britain when he was 16, served with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserves.

He served all over the world including in Ceylon – which is now Sri Lanka – Hong Kong, and Bombay and was there when the Japanese surrendered in 1945.

Mr Hogan has been married to his wife Loy, also 92, for 42 years.

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