Celebrating 70 years

November 25, 2013

Today sees my father-in-law turn 70 years old. To celebrate a surprise get together was organised over the weekend for family and friends. This mainly involved eating record breaking quantities of sandwiches and cake!

My husband said a few words to mark the occasion. Using photographs to accompany his speech, he told a story that began way back in 1943.

My father-in-law shares his 70th birthday year with Mick Jagger, Robert de Niro and John Nettles – all very similar! In 1943 petrol cost 2½p per litre, a loaf of bread was 3½p and a pint of beer 5p.

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In 1961 he joined the RAF. Having completed his training, his first posting was to Cyprus. He soon bought his pride and joy an Austin Healy Sprite 1100. As well as posing with his new car, he showed off his sporting prowess and hosted a radio show.

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It was in Cyprus in 1963 that he met his shy and retiring wife! After a whirlwind romance, they got married in 1967.

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In March the following year, my husband arrived while his Dad was on HMS Eagle. A tour which saw the first of a number of firsts in the Air Force. He was in the first group of RAF Aircrew to fly the Buccaneer on loan to the Navy. HMS Eagle’s role was an important one as an aircraft carrier patrolling the World seas during the Cold War.

It also provided those on board with a good excuse to dress up, grow facial hair and eat cat with chips in Karachi!

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During his time with the Navy he was one of the first to participate in the bombing of the Torrey Canyon Supertanker than ran aground off the Scilly Isles in 1967. Back in the UK, with a new family came responsibilities and sacrifice. The sports car giving way to a Ford Anglia Estate.

In 1970, on my husband’s birthday, my sister-in-law was born. Then came a decade of more dubious facial hair – and strange fashion choices.

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Another first came in 1982 when my father-in-law became the first Navigator OC Taceval at Ramstein, before returning to the UK and being awarded the Air Force Cross which was presented by the Queen at Buckingham Palace. In 1983 another first saw him take command of XV Squadron the first Tornado Squadron in RAF Germany.

His real claim to fame came in 1984 when he featured on the back of Warlord Comic “Quiet Cool and Comfortable” was how he described the Tornado. In 1991 he had tea with the then Prime Minister John Major as a personal thank you for his work at the MOD during the Gulf War.

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In 1999 he took on a new and exciting role as Grandad – a second Grandson arrived in 2001. On Christmas Day 2010 he became a Grandad once again when POD was born.

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She’s already looking forward to hearing him; say it twice (I had to say it twice!), being told to stop acting the giddy goat, no horseplay in the sitting room and everyone’s favourite – no elbows on the table!

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We’re linking up with What’s The Story? here on PODcast. To see other people’s photographs and read the fabulous stories behind them, click on the badge below.

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  • Notmyyearoff November 25, 2013 at 6:37 am

    Wow what a life he’s had, sound absolutely amazing! (Except the cat and chips bit). A massive happy birthday to him.

    • Charly Dove November 25, 2013 at 11:31 am

      Very interesting life, thank you Tas. Loved the post about your holidays 🙂

  • Sarah MumofThree World November 25, 2013 at 7:01 am

    What an amazing life – and what brilliant photos. Happy birthday to him! 🙂

    • Charly Dove November 25, 2013 at 11:32 am

      Thank you Sarah 🙂

  • The Reading Residence November 25, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Such a lovely post, and Happy Birthday to an amazing man x

    • Charly Dove November 25, 2013 at 11:32 am

      Thank you very much Jocelyn, makes for a lovely story 🙂

  • Only Best For Baby November 25, 2013 at 7:24 am

    A lovely account of your father-in-law’s life 🙂 Wishing him a very Happy Birthday and lots of celebrations with you all x

    • Charly Dove November 25, 2013 at 11:33 am

      Thank you Lydia. I hope your hubby had a wonderful birthday too 🙂

  • Afra November 25, 2013 at 7:38 am

    Lovely pictures and a lovely post.

    • Charly Dove November 25, 2013 at 11:35 am

      Thank you Afra 🙂

  • Iona@redpeffer November 25, 2013 at 7:44 am

    Oh wow, what an amazing life and some wonderful photos too #whatsthestory

    • Charly Dove November 25, 2013 at 11:35 am

      Thank you Iona 🙂

  • Dean November 25, 2013 at 10:41 am

    You’re father-in-law sure led an interesting life! I bet your daughter will love hearing those stories when she’s old enough. I used to like listening to my grandfather talk about his life before and I regret not putting them down in writing. Now I can hardly remember anything! Oh well… Anyway, happy birthday to your father-in-law! 😉

    • Charly Dove November 25, 2013 at 6:55 pm

      Thank you Dean. It’s nice to know you used to like listening to your grandfather talk about his life. I’m sure POD will love her Grandad doing the same 🙂

  • OneDad3Girls November 25, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    What a beautiful post, Love all the older photos

    • Charly Dove November 25, 2013 at 6:56 pm

      Thank you Darren, the old photos are just wonderful aren’t they 🙂

  • sarah November 25, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    what a lovely walk down memory lane and so many pics too! fab!

    • Charly Dove November 25, 2013 at 6:56 pm

      Thank you Sarah. It was a wonderful speech, very funny in its entirety 🙂

  • Sara (@mumturnedmom) November 25, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    Your father in law has had an amazingly interesting life! So lovely to record it like this. POD is going to love his stories 🙂

    • Charly Dove November 25, 2013 at 6:57 pm

      He really has hasn’t he Sara. I’m sure POD will just love listening to him talking about it 🙂

  • Jeannette @autismmumma November 25, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Fantastic photos and an amazing life, hope he has an absolutely great day x

    • Charly Dove November 25, 2013 at 9:31 pm

      The photos are great aren’t they. So glad my husband was able to pop them on boards and do an amusing speech 🙂

  • Lou's Lake Views November 25, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Such great photos and what an extraordinary life he has lead. This is a lovely tribute to him Charly x

    • Charly Dove November 25, 2013 at 9:31 pm

      Thank you Lou, he makes a fabulous story 🙂

  • Funky Wellies November 25, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    A very full and interesting life, with a great selection of photos – yes, even the ones with the dubious facial hair! 😉
    Happy birthday to him. xx

    • Charly Dove November 25, 2013 at 9:35 pm

      The facial hair ones are brilliant. A fabulous life though, seems strange to think of him being 70 really 🙂

  • Dragonsfypoppy November 25, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    What a lovely collection of photos and a great story Charly. I especially love the picture of his shy and retiring wife leaping in the air. Sounds like you made it quite the occasion to celebrate xx

    • Charly Dove November 25, 2013 at 9:43 pm

      Thank you, my husband did a great job with the speech. It was very funny too. The shy and retiring wife comment got an enormous cheer, it’s a great photo too! Just read your wonderful chapter, great stuff 🙂

  • Kriss MacDonald November 25, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    First of all great moustaches! What a great post celebrating your father in law’s career in the military – and role as grandad.

    • Charly Dove November 25, 2013 at 9:44 pm

      Thank you Kriss, they’re impressive moustaches 🙂

  • LauraCYMFT November 25, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    Wow, some fantastic photos. What a great life he’s had. Happy birthday to him!

    • Charly Dove November 25, 2013 at 9:45 pm

      Thank you Laura. One photo wasn’t enough this week 🙂

  • Wicked World of Lucas November 26, 2013 at 6:54 am

    Firstly, please wish him a HUGE Happy Birthday form me. What a lovely post and the photos are great – they are all so happy and what a life he’s led. Loved reading this so much #whatsthestory

    • Charly Dove November 26, 2013 at 9:02 am

      Thank you Cathie, what a lovely comment. Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  • Mary @over40andamumtoone November 26, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Oh Charly, what a wonderful story! What a hero Granddad to have in the family too! POD is a lucky little girl – what amazing stories she will here. Love it.

    • Charly Dove November 27, 2013 at 12:08 pm

      Thank you very much Mary 🙂

  • Alison November 26, 2013 at 11:15 am

    What fabulous photos and an amazing story

    • Charly Dove November 27, 2013 at 12:08 pm

      Thank you Alison 🙂

  • suzanne3childrenandit November 27, 2013 at 11:14 am

    What a life he has led! Loved that Charley, really interesting and some fabulous photos 🙂 I better he was over the moon when he got a little Granddaughter after 2 Grandsons! x

    • Charly Dove November 27, 2013 at 12:09 pm

      Thank you Suzanne, very kind of you 🙂

  • Actually Mummy... November 27, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    That’s a fascinating life story – people had much more interesting lives in the generation before ours didn’t they, if harder a lot of the time.

    • Charly Dove November 29, 2013 at 8:31 am

      Thank you Helen – I think you’re right there 🙂