A veteran of the second world war Arctic convoys who helped his wife give birth on the bathroom floor celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary on St Valentine’s Day last week.
On February 14, 1953 Margaret Patricia Jelly, born Coventry in November 1931, married David Whitehead, born West Acton, London in August 1924.
Last weekend they celebrated the milestone with friends, their two children, and four grand-children at Jarvis Court in Brackley.
The couple were introduced by Mr Whiteheads’s brother Tony when they were all working at the Massey Ferguson tractor factory in Coventry after the war.
Mr Whitehead said: “Because Margaret was in publicity there was a lot of photos of her, so I knew she was a good looking broad!”
The couple hit it off and within a month they were ‘unofficially’ engaged. They kept their commitment a secret until they could afford rings four years later.
They married at Christ the King Catholic Church on a snowy day, and when they arrived early Mr Whitehead, and his brother as best man, were handed shovels by the priest in order to clear a path to the church.
Their daughter Jane arrived a few years later, and four years after that their son Peter was in such a hurry to arrive labour and birth took just 30 minutes and was he delivered by Mr Whitehead on the bathroom floor.
Describing the secret to their long marriage Mrs Whitehead said: “During the party David joked ‘one of the reasons we’ve stayed together all these years is that we never let the sun go down on a argument. We just stay up all night and row.”
As a radio operator and submarine hunter during the war Mr Whitehead is set to receive the newly created Arctic Convoy Star. He also defended Allied forces in the English Channel during D-Day.