Wedding of Joan Watts & Harry Richardson

A wartime wedding in North Benfleet, 1942

My name is Peter Watts and our family lived at 4, Hall Cottages, Pound Lane, North Benfleet, between 1936 and 1942.  After the outbreak of war and during 1942 my eldest sister, Joan WATTS, married Harry RICHARDSON, an RAF pilot stationed in Buckinghamshire.  Harry came from a small village, Kingswear, in South Devon, and as a matter of interest our whole family moved there from Pound Lane during 1944 (shortly after D-day.

Joan and Harry were married at North Benfleet in our local ‘All Saints’ Church, situated at the top of Hall Road, almost directly opposite our house.

On the date of the wedding my brother (George), also in the RAF, should have acted as best man, but regrettably was unable to do so as on that very day he sailed for South Africa on SS Mauritania for further training.   Therefore, and at the tender age of twelve, I was selected as ‘Best Man’.

The reception was held in our house, extremely overcrowded. The wedding ‘cake’ was a cardboard imitation (almost the norm at that time) because of strict rationing; this resulted in the ‘Cake’ being lifted off and a sponge cake beneath being the actual edible part!

The first two photos were taken immediately outside Hall Cottage. One of them showing the newly wedded couple and immediate members of my family. The other photo is of those attending the function.

I have yet to see any photos of any weddings at North Benfleet Church and thought I would send this to possibly stimulate others from North Benfleet to search their old photos and do likewise.

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