Video: Dunkirk veteran celebrates 75 years of marriage

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A SOLDIER who survived the Dunkirk landings with a picture of his new bride in his pocket has just celebrated 75 years of marriage.

Norman Johnson swam through the waters to the safety of a boat with a photo of his sweetheart, Joyce, wrapped in a 100,000 Deutsche Mark for protection. The couple, from Sheffield, have now marked their diamond wedding anniversary - and Mr Johnson still has the photo complete with a salt stain from the sea and the banknote.

Norman and Mavis Johnson have been happily married for 75 years. Picture: Ross Parry Agency

Norman and Mavis Johnson have been happily married for 75 years. Picture: Ross Parry Agency

The 97-year-old veteran was conscripted into the Army during the Second World War and travelled to France before he was safely evacuated from the beach at Dunkirk. A hasty wedding was organised when he was given leave.

Mrs Johnson said: “We got married when he was on 48-hour leave. 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.”

Mr Johnson said the secret to a long and happy marriage was “being easy going with each other”.

He added: “I can honestly say we’ve never fallen out. We’ve been very happy indeed. We’ve done very well really.”

After the war, Mr Johnson went to work for the English Steel Corporation and Joyce worked doing laundry. They had two children Sue and Carol as well as seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.