Wednesday, 6 February 2013
Wedding Wednesday - Till Death Us Do Part?
The 1935 wedding notice for Lillian Margaret Thompson and Ernest "Billy" Barton notes in detail the outfits of the bride and her bridesmaid. Unfortunately, there is no photo to support the description either in the local Durham newspaper or in the hundreds and hundreds of family photographs, dating back to the early 1900s, that Lillian carefully stored.
I can only assume that Lillian destroyed any photographic record of her wedding that did exist, for this was not a marriage that stood the test of time. Quite why I don't know, although they do seem a curious coupling.
Billy was a career soldier, who joined the Royal Engineers at 19, and apart from a few years break in the 30s served in the military until the end of WW2. After the war he took up a role as a military and civil defence instructor.
Lillian - 8 years his junior - was artistic bordering on mystical. A talented musician, devoted animal lover and vegetarian who dabbled for a time in spiritualism.
Maybe, these differences became too great. Or maybe Billy, like many retired professional soldiers, struggled to settle into domestic life once the war was over.
Or maybe - despite the birth of a son in 1949 - they just didn't in the end get on, for by 1951 they had separated and although, never divorced remained separated for the rest of their lives.
Lillian kept a diary for most of her life but even this offers no explanation - just a simple entry on the day of their separation: "I left Billy."
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