An inseparable couple whose first date was interrupted by a WW2 air raid siren have become one of Britain’s longest married pairs – after celebrating 76 years together.
Hal and Barbara Craine met on a church dance floor in 1941 during the Blitz where they enjoyed a waltz together.
However, the budding romance was rudely interrupted by the drone of the air raid siren.
In a twist to tradition, centurion Hal had to immediately meet his future in-laws on the first date after rushing to Barbara’s cramped air raid shelter at her home.
Less than a year later, the beloved couple, who were just 18 and 24 at the time, married in a church ceremony on a sweltering day on June, 6 1942 – and celebrated their 76th wedding anniversary last Wednesday.
Unbelievably, the couple from Sheffield, South Yorks., remain together to this day – making them one of Britain’s longest married couples.
Reflecting on more than three quarters of a century together, Hal, 100, said: “We’ve been very happy together.
“We’ve had our arguments but we’ve ridden the waves.
“Marriage is about give and take, and I think young people these days give up on it too easily without trying to work through any problems they have.
“When you make the vows at the wedding you must keep them.”
Hal worked for English steel for the majority of his working life, while he also spent 18 months in the RAF.
Barbara, 94, spent years during the war working in the offices of Ambrose Shardlow’s, which made parts for Spitfire fighter aircraft.
Asked about their first meeting, Barbara recalled: “It was more or less love at first sight.
“It was the first time we met and I remember the siren going off.”
Both of the devoted pair have a love for music.
Hal has a passion for the accordion and organ and he still plays to this day in a a music room set up at their home of the past 70 years.
Barbara was also a budding musician at an early age and has played the piano throughout her life.
They performed the ragtime hit Twelfth Street Rag together at Sheffield City Hall during a special concert for musicians in the steel industry.
Hal even turned his talents into a business venture, playing in his spare time in working men’s clubs around the city – where he performed for stars including the late soap icon Liz Dawn.
The couple, who have spent their entire lives in the UK having never been on a plane, have three children, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Their daughter Shirleigh said her mother was a talented cook who knew the way to her husband’s heart was through his stomach, especially when it came to her famous bread and butter pudding.
She said: “I am so very proud of them.
“I honestly can’t believe how long they have been together sometimes.
“I have always just seen it as normal but when people mention it is when it sinks in.
“They have a carer visit them four times a day but they have been in their home for the last 70 years which is amazing.
“They love their house and I made a vow to never put them in a home.
“Everybody loves them both and they have a lot to teach younger people, I am so proud of them.”
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