1. A couple who never argued during 76 years of marriage have died within hours of each other.
World War II veteran Clifford Hartland died at the age of 101 at St Martin’s Rest Home in Woodway Lane, Coventry, last month, after his wife Marjorie, 97, was discharged from hospital with a broken leg.
Having announced she could not live without her husband, Marjorie died the following morning, on their 76th wedding anniversary.
Their daughter Christine told BPM Media: “We think he was waiting for her to come back to the room they shared before he died.”
2. “Afterwards, Mum just kept saying, ‘I can’t live without him.’ That night, Mum rang me.”
“She was upset, and I told her to think about all the happy times they’d shared in their marriage while she drifted off to sleep.
“She died at 1am, and I like to think that’s exactly what she was doing.”
3. The 67-year-old added: “It’s a perfect love story. I’m devastated they’re gone but so happy for them – they’ve never really had to live without one another.”
Christine said her mother had died of a heart attack, “literally a broken heart”.
Clifford and Marjorie met in Cardiff and got married in 1938.
4. In 1941, Clifford, an army gunner, was sent to Singapore, where he was later captured by the Japanese and forced to work on the Thailand-Burma railway.
A year later, Marjorie was informed by the military that her husband was missing, presumed dead, and was offered a widow’s pension.
But she refused to believe her husband was gone, and prayed every day for him to come home.
When he eventually returned, he weighed just 31kg (five stone) after years in brutal captivity, during which he had even been forced to dig his own grave.
5. “Dad was in hospital for a while after he came back from Burma, but neither of them cared,” Christine said. “They were just so happy to be together again.”
“They had an incredible marriage. They never, ever argued. Dad idolised Mum, and she adored him.”
A joint funeral for the pair was due to take place in Coventry later today.
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