Suffolk: Platinum wedding anniversary landmark for D-Day veteran and wife

A D-DAY veteran and his devoted wife have celebrated an impressive seven decades of marriage.

Jack and Odile Mitchell, both 92, toasted their landmark 70th wedding anniversary this week with a card from the Queen.

The couple first got to know each other as teenagers during their school days and soon struck up a romance, marrying in 1941 when they were both 22.

Mrs Mitchell’s mother was French and her father was Belgian, a talented musician who played first violinist under famous conductor Sir Henry Wood. He died before Mrs Mitchell was born and she was brought up by her mother.

After marrying the couple lived together in Highgate, North London, where Mr Mitchell worked for the family coal business.


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During World War Two Mr Mitchell joined the Balloon Barrage Squadron and was one of the few RAF members to land on Gold Beach on June 6 1944.

His father and grandfather, who founded the coal firm in 1878, had both been mayor of St Pancras and he returned to run the business after being demobbed from the RAF following the end of the conflict.

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They moved around over the years, including time spent living in Bristol, Gloucester, France and Sussex.

Mrs Mitchell now lives at Foxearth Lodge Nursing Home in Saxtead, having moved in last autumn in order to receive round-the-clock care.

Their daughter Nikki, 54, said: “He was called up and went in the RAF and left the family business. But he loves talking about it and is happy to tell anyone about his experiences.”

She said her parents were still very close and saw each other every day, despite Mr Mitchell living with her in Laxfield.

Miss Mitchell said: “Every day he is there, sometimes he spends the whole day there, having lunch. They are glued together and always have been. She’s been there since September and it’s the only time they have ever been apart, except for the war.”

Speaking yesterday after spending several hours at Foxearth with his wife, Mr Mitchell said it was her mother who had helped the romance to blossom all those years ago.

He said: “We met when we were about 16. We were both at school then and I used to walk down past her flat in Highgate and occasionally she was at the window.

“Her mother was a great hostess and used to invite us lads in for tea. She was a fashion buyer and travelled all around Europe.”

Mr Mitchell said they had enjoyed a special anniversary lunch at Foxearth this week with a cake and all the staff had joined them for a glass of champagne.

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