Childhood sweethearts celebrate their marriage
Blind Veterans UK’s first naval marriage took place on 11 November 1916 when Alfred Back (known as ‘Jackie’) married Miss Kitty Titmouse at Holy Trinity Church, Marylebone. Alfred had been a boy seaman and after losing his sight came to us in 1915. He learned Braille, typewriting, boot repairing and mat making with us, at St Dunstan’s Lodge in Regent’s Park.
‘Jackie’ and Kitty had grown up together in Torquay and, as the photo opposite suggests, the wedding was by all accounts a striking occasion. The happy couple are seated in the wedding car, on the far left. A guard of honour by sailors from H.M.S. Spanker formed an arch with their cutlasses from the church to the flower- bedecked car which was then pulled back by ropes to the reception at St Dunstan’s Lodge. The photograph above shows Alfred outside St Dunstan’s, being hoisted into the air by his naval friends. It was reported in our magazine, the Review, that the sailors ‘burst lustily into singing ‘Every Nice Girl Loves a Sailor’ ‘, whilst the bride used one of the cutlasses to cut the wedding cake! Mr and Mrs Back spent many happy years together and raised four children, two of whom followed their father’s career by joining the Navy. Alfred died in November 1960 and his wife - rather poignantly - on Valentine’s Day, in 1978.
This story was discovered during our Historical Photography Project. To read more stories and to find out more about the project click here.