Edinburgh couple mark 70 years together

AN EDINBURGH couple are celebrating 70 years of marriage today '“ Battle of Britain Day.

Friday, 15th September 2017, 10:03 am
Updated Friday, 15th September 2017, 10:08 am
Nan and Joe Reilly are celebrating 70 years of marriage

Nan and Joe Reilly met on a city bus in 1945 after Joe’s father introduced the pair, before wedding two years later on the date marking one of the most famous battles of the second world war.

Nan, 91, previously worked at the Evening News as a typist, while Joe, 95, was in bomber command before spending more than three decades working in the civil service following the war.

Mr Reilly was brought up in Edinburgh.He moved to London at the age of 16 to join the Air Ministry, but was later evacuated to Harrogate, North Yorkshire, in 1942. He joined the RAF a year later and travelled to South Africa to complete his training before being posted to 186 Lancaster Squadron in Stradishall, Suffolk.

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Mr Reilly had completed a “tour” of more than 35 operations by the time he returned to Edinburgh in 1945, and later joined the Scotland Office before retiring in 1980.

Nan (née Harvey) left school at 15 to join the Evening News – where her Uncle Willie was the chief sub-editor – in 1941, initially as a typist, before later moving on to the subs desk herself.

Despite being the only woman in the office at that time, Nan said she enjoyed her career in the newsroom.

She said: “I remember my time among the journalists at the Evening News being extremely busy, but fun.”

The pair were first introduced by Joe’s father when they met on the No.1 bus in late 1945, after Joe had returned home on leave. According to Joe, they began “courting” soon after, and were married at St John’s Church in Cortstorphine in front of a large gathering of friends and family in 1947 after Joe had been demobbed.

Reminiscing about the day almost seven decades later, Joe said he remembered it fondly. “Getting married was by far the best thing that has ever happened to me,” Mr Reilly revealed.

The couple initially settled in Colinton Mains, spending the first year of married life in the area, while also spending their time travelling across Europe.

Joe said the Italian lakes and the Amalfi Coast were a particular favourite, with the pair spending several summers sunning themselves in southern Italy.

In 1961, they relocated to Davidson’s Mains, where they settled down and became popular with neighbours, making lifelong friends and raising their five children.

They have remained in the area ever since, even seeing their own children settle with their own families nearby.

The couple now have 14 grandchildren and one great-grandchild, nicknamed “Little Joe”, who now lives in Melbourne, Australia.