The way we were: Bombs, bars and betrothals

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Is’nt it always the way? You spend months dodging the bombs during the London Blitz. Only, upon popping down to Calverton to get married, you find that even there bombs are quite likely to start whistling past your ears.

Such was the situation that befell Miss Muriel Lavern, who in 1941 married the village rector – in his own church. In fact not even the tranquillity of the countryside was safe, and at nearby Beachampton two people were killed when bombs demolished two cottages.

At Calverton incendiaries were dropped as well as oil bombs, but with no-one injured there was fortunately a happy outcome.

Hopefully Miss Lavern’s marriage also had a happy outcome – unlike that of another couple in the village. The husband, a retired fishmonger, had married his second wife after only a month’s acquaintance. Big mistake. For, in a classic case of ‘Marry in haste repent at leisure,’ things very soon began to go wrong.

It was all down to the gooseberries, for when she called him to tea he said she shouldn’t have picked them until they were ripe. Not impressed, she allegedly picked up an iron bar and lunged towards him, saying “l’ll bash your brains out you old -----.”

Startled by this he grabbed the bar, and in the ensuing struggle threw her over the settee. By her version he lunged at her first, but in the subsequent court proceedings the case was dismissed.

So, bombs and bust-ups. For certain residents it seems that Calverton was fighting a war on two home fronts, during those traumatic wartime years.