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She waited two years for me; your ROMANCE memories It's Valentine's Day on Wednesday. Frank Jennings, of Great Barr, tells how his love for Grace survived years of separation during active service.

WHEN you lose your best mate, all that you are left with is memories.

We met as childhood sweethearts, if you can call it that. Grace was 14 and worked at the Northern Aluminium in Middlemore Road, Smethwick. I was 17 and working on the GWR Hockley.

We used to go to Nineveh Dance Studios on the Soho Road, Handsworth, to learn ballroom dancing.

George and Dorothy Careless used to run it.

Then of a Sunday we'd go to the pics - the Regal Picture House on Soho Road again. Walks in the park in the week.

Then I was called up to serve in the 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment in Palestine in the 1945-48 campaign.

Grace wrote to me all the two years I was out there and became very worried by the death toll - 903 died in this campaign, including 119 British Palestine Police.

The mandate ended in May 1948, but we were sent to Africa. Another shock. I didn't come home until 1949.

When I did I went to Grace's mom's house in Boulton Road, Handsworth. Grace's sister opened the door and said Grace was at work, still at the Northern Aluminium.

So I raced up there in uniform. When she came out we both stood staring at each other for ages.

Wow! Then we got the bus home to Grace's mom's and went to the pics. Regal, where else!

I had to find work pretty quick because in them days, no work, no money. So I found a job at Wilkinson's in Villa Road, Handsworth, as a driver for their vans.

We got engaged while I was in the TA and married in September 1950.

Our honeymoon was in Scarborough and we got the train out of New Street It was a fish train made up with passenger coaches.

We were together for 57 years and I miss her very much. She passed away in Sandwell Hospital in February 2005 despite never smoking and eating healthily.

CAPTION(S):

DEVOTED: Frank Jennings on his wedding day with sweetheart Grace and left, on active service in Palestine
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Feb 11, 2007
Words:348
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