Sidney | Aged 90
Sydenham | November 2015

Sidney met Winifred and her sister Lucy when out with friends at the Locarno, Streatham, he was in his early 20s and on leave from the Irish Guards. He had eyes for them both, and believes that they too were both fond of him but, in the end, it was Winifred who won his heart. Stealing her handbag to guarantee her attention, Sidney was careful to secure a call from her, which led to almost a year of dating. Still working in the army and, whilst being sent to Palestine and Egypt, Sidney enjoyed his period of service during the Second World War. However, coming from a large family with a changing household, Sidney was unsure about where he would live once discharged. As with many ex-servicemen, Sidney found himself needing to make quick decisions about his life and, since already courting Winifred, proposed marriage so they could set up home together. In this sense, Sidney describes the marriage as one of convenience.

Sidney had been fond of army life and the associated travelling, and began to feel that leaving the army to marry was a mistake he would perhaps not have made had it not been for Winifred. In the early years Sidney was concerned that they were not compatible and, unhappy with his decisions, became rebellious. Recalling a time he walked out on the marriage for 24 hours, he remembers a day spent pursuing a girl he’d met at an army dance, all to no avail. Looking back, Sidney feels his marriage to Winifred of 62 years came with a series of ups and downs and, although he describes it as reasonable, is glad he now doesn’t question his decision to marry. Sidney counts himself lucky that he and Winifred made a life for each other but does wonder how much of it was for convenience rather than for love and queries how relevant marriage is for younger generations. Photographed in his kitchen at home, unable to use the living room which he keeps as a shrine to Winifred, Sidney confides that the greatest treasures from his marriage are their son, daughter and grandchildren, describing them as the “biggest present you can ever get”.

To hear Sidney talk about … watch the video below: