03 Aug Doreen Rowland
Age 15 Doreen pictured with her siblings helping bring in the harvest on her father’s tenanted farm on the Weald in Kent. During World War 2 she has vivid memories of watching the dog fights during the Battle of Britain over the farm; “It was a familiar sight to see planes shot down and pilots baling out. During the early hours of one morning we were surrounded by bombs. We thought a plane was coming down in flames but it turned out to be a basketful of incendiary bombs. There were terrible explosions everywhere, windows shattered, the back door was blown off and beds shook and moved across the floor… we were very lucky not to have received a direct hit.”
Age 19 Doreen met her husband Ernest through their cycling clubs; they were keen members of the Ashford Wheelers and the Medway Wheelers. “We built our own bikes in those days, mine was a gents bike with drop handlebars. There wasn’t much traffic due to the [petrol] rationing. After 71 years of marriage they have been able to enjoy a cycle ride once again on a trishaw around Montpellier Park in Cheltenham.
Age 93 Doreen and Ernest share an apartment in Faithfull House. Doreen celebrated her 93rd birthday in April. Pictured is the couple on their 71st wedding anniversary with a card from the King.