THE year 1943 was an eventful one – a world war was raging and British forces captured Tropoli from the Nazis, Aberdeen suffered its worst bombing of the war, there was an allied invasion of Sicily and the RAF’s 617 Squadron used the famous bouncing bombs to breach German dams in the Ruhr Valley.
Back on the domestic front, most able bodied men were engaged in military service, rationing was in operation, much of the remaining population was either digging for victory or working in armament factories – and Claire and Bernard Shimmin got married at St Ninian’s Church.
On Wednesday the couple, now in their early 90s, who live at Saddle Mews, celebrated their platinum wedding anniversary with a meal at their son Michael’s house in Lower Foxdale. Older son Graham will be joining them from his home in Worcester.
‘We were both in the army and we met in Blackpool in 1942,’ Mr Shimmin said.
‘Instead of her getting married in Colne in Lancashire, which was her home town, we were married when we were on leave in the Isle of Man. The basis of our marriage is absolute trust and honesty – and that important phrase, ‘‘yes dear’’!’
‘Yes well that applies from both sides,’ added Mrs Shimmin.
‘Really it’s just about getting on together.’
Large areas of Douglas seafront and the guest houses were taken up at the time with prisoners of war so the couple headed north for their honeymoon.
‘We spent it in Maughold,’ Mrs Shimmin said.
‘There was a hotel there and we had to take two taxi rides to get to it. One took us as far as Laxey and the other met it and completed the journey to Maughold.’
Unfortunately, within 12 months of being married, Mr Shimmin was badly injured in an army training accident which left him blind for two months, and he received what was then pioneering treatment.
‘I was burned by a phosphorous grenade,’ Mr Shimmin explained. ‘My face was very badly burned but my wife stood by me while I had skin grafts over a long period. My wife gave me the confidence to go out and meet people again.’
Not only did he have pioneering plastic surgery but he was also one of the first to benefit from receiving penicillin.
During their working lives Mr Shimmin was commercial manager for the Isle of Man Electricity Board while Mrs Shimmin ran a guest house on Christian Road.
Michael Shimmin said his parents were looking forward to receiving their telegrams from the Queen and the Governor.
‘I bought them an iPad recently so they are getting to grips with online shopping and the computer age,’ he said.
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Weather for Isle of Man
Sunday 26 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 22 mph
Wind direction: South west
Temperature: 8 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 29 mph
Wind direction: South