Survivor of notorious prisoner of war camp celebrates 70th wedding anniversary

First published in Kingston Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Digital editor

A couple who were reunited on VE Day after he was released from a notorious German prisoner of war camp have celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.

Leslie Cox, 91, had only been married to Daphne, 92, for 10 weeks when his plane was shot down in 1942 over North Africa.

He was incarcerated in Stalag Luft III, which is known for two famous prisoner escapes that happened there by tunneling and were portrayed in the films The Wooden Horse (1950) and The Great Escape (1963).

The couple were reunited on Victory in Europe Day and now live in the Spiers House care home in New Malden in side by side rooms.

They celebrated their anniversary in the home on June 9 with a visit from their family their son Patrick and daughter Rosemary, four grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Patrick said: “I think it is a great achievement, perhaps there aren’t going to be that many 70th wedding anniversaries in the future.

“They have been very loving and caring parents and also interested in what their children are doing and their grandchildren.”

The Coxes married in Peterborough after meeting through their church but have lived in Coombe Lane, West Wimbledon, since 1966 until December 2011.

Leslie was an NHS administrator before he retired, rising to the role of dsenior assistant district health administrator for Sutton and Merton Health District before he retired in 1980. Daphne was a secretary before putting aside her career to raise her children.

They both have a keen love of gardening and working in their own garden at their home, but being confided to wheelchairs inside the nursing home has stopped them from taking part in as many activities as in the past.

Ziortza Fernandez, resident nurse at Spiers House, said: “It is amazing. They are always looking out for each other. They are always asking ‘how is Daphne’ and ‘how is Leslie?’”

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