In sickness and in health - 72 years on

John and Isobel Dowling celebrate their 72nd wedding anniversary

John and Isobel Dowling celebrate their 72nd wedding anniversary

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A Second World War soldier who fell in love with his nurse is celebrating 72 glorious years of marriage.

John Dowling, 96, who has dementia, and Isobel met in Dundee during the Second World War. John broke his ankle during training in Dundee and Isobel nursed him back to health, and they have been inseparable ever since.
During the war John worked as a signaller for the royal marines, including working with Morse Code and flag signalling.

John and Isobel Dowling celebrate their 72nd wedding anniversary with their daughter Margaret Harrison and team leader Craig Riding from the Lodge Raleigh community at Buckshaw Retirement Village

John and Isobel Dowling celebrate their 72nd wedding anniversary with their daughter Margaret Harrison and team leader Craig Riding from the Lodge Raleigh community at Buckshaw Retirement Village

The couple, who are both residents at The Lodge, a specialist care home within Buckshaw Retirement Village, Chorley, celebrated their anniversary at a special war veterans Christmas lunch.

Their daughter, Maggie Harrison, who is 68, said: “My parents are a fantastic couple and are still very much in love. It was a great relief when we found out they could live together at The Lodge as my dad can now receive the specialist care he needs whilst still living in a homely setting with my mum.
“The veterans Christmas lunch is a fantastic environment for them to spend their 72nd wedding anniversary as it gives them the chance to reminisce on how they first met with other veterans. Even though my dad has dementia, he still tells stories of the war and his time in the Royal Marines and looks back on the time he spent courting my mum.”
After several failed attempts to tie the knot due to John’s commitment to the Royal Marines during the war, John and Isobel went on marry in Dundee in 1944 before travelling and eventually settling down in Plymouth.
Due to the bombing damage following the war, housing was very limited in Plymouth, and John and Isobel lived in a caravan for a number of years. Isobel, now 94, was a housewife, and John established himself as a self-employed newsagent delivering to small villages in Dartmoor, and eventually opened his own shop on the Royal Marine Barracks at Bickleigh and in later years opened two newsagent shops in Plymouth.
The happy couple then went on to have children Helen, Maggie, Ian and Sally. Tragically, Ian passed away when he was 18 months old from leukaemia and Sally passed away at nine years old from spina bifida.
John and Isobel moved to Chorley to live at The Lodge, and now enjoy spending their time with other residents, taking part in the activities and entertainment at the home and visits from their children, five grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.

John and Isobel on their wedding day

John and Isobel on their wedding day