Triple Celebrations for Australian Couple

08 Oct

There were triple celebrations when Australian couple Ken and Gladys May called in at Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre.

Not only were the couple back in town after nearly 20 years but it was Ken 91st birthday and their 69th wedding anniversary.

Ken – then a Sunderland aircrew member with 461 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force – and Gladys (nee James), who lived in Park Street, were married in September 1945 after a wartime courtship. Within months Gladys was on a long sea journey to a new life in Perth, Western Australia.

Over the years Ken and Gladys have revisited Pembroke Dock on several occasions, the last being in 1995 to attend the final Pembroke Dock Flying Boat Reunion.

“It is wonderful to be back though the town has changed such a lot,” said Ken. “We are delighted to visit the new Heritage Centre and to see all the developments to record the town’s fine history. It is impressive to see how the flying boat story is told here including the contributions made by the Australian squadrons during the war.”

While at the Centre Ken and Gladys were recorded by Volunteers Barry and Margaret Clark for the Sunderland Trust’s Oral History project.

Said Barry: “It was fascinating to hear their memories of PD in wartime, including when Gladys was bombed out of Princes Street by the Luftwaffe. She met Ken when she was working at the West End Café in Commercial Row, a popular venue for service personnel. Their recollections are very important additions to our oral history.”

Joining Gladys and Ken on their ‘Return to PD’ were daughter Jennifer and son-in-law Chris Turnbull. They visited relatives and friends locally before returning home.

Ken and Gladys May presented a framed crest of the Australian 461 Squadron for display at the Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre. It was received by the Sunderland Trust’s John Evans. PICTURE: Martin Cavaney Photography.

Ken and Gladys May presented a framed crest of the Australian 461 Squadron for display at the Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre. It was received by the Sunderland Trust’s John Evans.
PICTURE: Martin Cavaney Photography.

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