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Back to the barracks to celebrate 70th wedding anniversary

Back to the barracks to celebrate 70th wedding anniversary

Francis Batt

Back to the barracks to celebrate 70th wedding anniversary

The square of an army barracks might not seem like the most romantic place to propose.

But when Life Guard bandsman Robert McDonald decided to ask Combermere Barracks' lovely cook Clarice to marry him at the height of the war, he had to grab the opportunity while he could.

Next Tuesday the couple will be back at the barracks in St Leonard's Road, Windsor, celebrating their platinum wedding anniversary - that is 70 years as man and wife. They will be special guests of Robert's old regiment.

Clarice, 90, remembers how they met. She said: "He first came into the barracks kitchen to collect the corporal's dinner. After that I seemed to be always leaving important things like spoons or forks off the plate so he had to come back.

"I was not aware of doing it deliberately but who knows?"

A joint wedding at Clarice's home town of Cleethorpes in Lincolnshire followed, shared with her sister Vera and her fiance. Rations were short and the celebrations were basic, with Clarice and her sister both in uniform.

Clarice said: "It is still a regret that I never had a wedding dress. We spent our honeymoon in the house of a neighbour of my mother in Cleethorpes."

Robert said: "It rained the whole time."

But the couple, who live in Wood Close, Windsor, have had a long happy marriage. They have two daughters, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Robert, who is now 91, spent 30 years in the army as a member of the prized Band of the Life Guards. He played the trumpet, the tuba and the bugle, performing with the band on the radio and in liberated France.

He later worked as chauffeur to the famous aeronautical engineer and scientist Sir Arnold Hall in Dorney.

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