Thorpe St Andrew couple who first caught each other’s eye on Cringleford Bridge to celebrate 70th anniversary
PUBLISHED: 09:43 30 September 2017 | UPDATED: 09:43 30 September 2017
Archant Norfolk 2017
They first caught each other’s eye while crossing the Cringleford Bridge at the height of the Second World War.
And it sparked a relationship which has stood the test of time.
Now, after 70 years of happy marriage, David and Dorothy Johnson, from Thorpe St Andrew, are preparing to celebrate their platinum anniversary on Monday.
The pair met while Mr Johnson, 92, was working for the fire service.
He had been riding across Cringleford Bridge, near Norwich, on his red Triumph motorbike when he caught the attention of his future wife, who is now 90.
“He looked like a bit of hot stuff’,” Mrs Johnson said. “We loved each other right from the beginning.”
Another chance encounter down Prince of Wales Road - after Mr Johnson had joined the 7th Battalion Royal Norfolk Regiment in 1943 - and their relationship was formed.
Mr Johnson was later sent off to France with the 59th division - 16 days after the invasion of Normandy.
During that time, he witnessed the horrors of war - most prominently from a battle he was part of on the River Orne, in France.
“I remember that as we advanced we came under heavy fire from the Germans with increased shelling, mortar fire, and snipers,” he said.
Mr Johnson was later shot by a German sniper in his left knee while in Holland, and spent the following months in hospital.
But it was letters from his partner that kept his spirits up.
“Dorothy and myself had been corresponding with each other ever since I joined the army, and those letters were so important to me.
“I still have them to this day.”
After being demobbed in 1947, the pair married at Cringleford Church, in the same village where Mrs Johnson grew up.
A year later they had their first son, Trevor, followed by their second, Barry, in 1950.
As well as looking after the children, Mrs Johnson worked as a retail assistant, while Mr Johnson - who is an avid Norwich City fan - joined Norfolk Police, before retiring aged 53 in 1977. He later went to work in security at Norwich Union.
The couple, who still live in their own home, have three grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
Mr Johnson is also his wife’s full-time carer after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.