Husband feared dead during WWII celebrates 70 years wedded bliss

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LESS than three years into her married life Marion Casson received the dreaded news that her husband was missing in action during World War II and was “presumed dead”.

Little did she know that Bill, now 91, had actually been taken prisoner by opposition forces after parachuting into France on D Day - and they thought he was a US spy!

It wasn’t until six months later that Marion, now 89, finally received the joyous news that her husband was still alive in a prisoner of war camp.

The devoted couple have been inseparable ever since and celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary at the Alexandra Care Home in Newton-le-Willows last week.

Daughter Norma, 62, told the Reporter: “It must have been an emotional day when my mum found out dad was still alive. Apparently the doctor was visiting her when the telegram arrived and she was so shocked at the news that she accidentally stumbled into a big bowl of boiling water!

“Dad was pretty badly treated when he was a prisoner though - because they thought he was a spy. He was marched all over the place, forced to undertake hard labour in a quarry and was nearly shot. In fact, he’s still got the bible which was given to all the prisoners who were about to be killed.

“It took 10 months for US forces to release my dad and for him to be reunited with my mum - but they’ve done everything together ever since.”

Bill, an expert marksman, first came to Marion’s attention when he cheekily shot all the clothes pegs off her neighbour’s washing line.

The couple hit it off straight away though and were married at St John’s Church in Earlestown on September 13, 1941.

After the war, Bill worked as a psychiatric nurse at Winwick Hospital for 46 years as well as serving with the special constabulary for 25 years, rising to the rank of inspector.

Marion worked as the canteen store keeper at the Vulcan works.

In retirement, the couple, who have three grandchildren and one great granddaughter, have enjoyed extensive travel - most notably to New Zealand, which they have visited six times.

Norma added: “Even now they still gently keep each other in line and mum is always known as ‘the boss’. And they both say that the only secret of a successful marriage is a sense of humour.

“It’s an amazing achievement for them to reach their 70th wedding anniversary. In this day and age most couples are lucky to last seven years, never mind 70!”