Sheffield soldier who carried bride’s photo though WWII celebrates 75th wedding anniversary

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Amid the chaos and terror of Dunkirk, a young soldier bravely swam through murky waters to an allied boat, carrying a picture of his new bride in his pocket.

Norman and Joyce Johnson have now been married for 75 years.

Devoted Norman still has the photograph – complete with a salt stain from swimming in the sea – and the 100,000 Deutsche Mark note he had wrapped it in for protection.

And after 75 years of marriage, most people might have had an argument or two.

But the couple, of Fir Vale, Sheffield, say they have never fallen out in all their time together.

The pair lived in the same area growing up and met in their early teenage years.

Joyce said: “I took a fancy to him. He was going to night school so I decided to go as well and do dressmaking. We used to walk home together and we got to go steady. He couldn’t escape me.”

Norman, aged 97, was conscripted into the army during the Second World War. He travelled to France and was evacuated from the beach at Dunkirk.

A hasty wedding was organised when Norman was given leave and was celebrated in a local pub.

“We got married when he was on 48-hour leave,” Joyce said.

“We got married on Saturday dinnertime and he was gone by Sunday night. Our wedding breakfast was cheese and onion sandwiches.

“And then we lived happily ever after.”

Norman said the secret is a long and happy marriage is ‘being easy going with each other’.

He said: “I can honestly say we’ve never fell out. We’ve been very happy indeed.”

“We’ve done very well really.”

After the war, Norman went to work for the English Steel Corporation and Joyce worked doing laundry. They had two children Sue and Carol.

Joyce said: “I had three sisters and we moved just down the road.

“So I was alright, it wasn’t far to go for gossip and babysitting.”

“We’ve had our troubles just like everybody else but we’ve been pretty happy.”

The couple have seven grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren, who celebrated the big day with them.