Couple recall memories of Olympic torch passing in 1948By Becky Barnes
July 10, 2012
An 82-year-old woman who saw the Olympic Torch on its travels in 1948 is looking forward to seeing it return to the area 64 years later.
Joyce Vaughan, of Deepfield Road, Bracknell, will watch the Olympic Torch as it passes along London Road and Millennium Way near her house, with husband of 58 years Brian, 81.
Joyce was just 18 when she last saw the torch and had moved from Birmingham to Bracknell to work in the Women’s Land Army in 1947.
She said: “We were at Bagshot Park and there was a farmer called Mr Martin – he said ‘girls you should see this’, so we went outside the gates.
“We were so amazed – me and four other girls – we didn’t clap him until he was gone.”
The arrival of the torch in Bracknell this year is significant for Joyce and Brian as the last time it passed through was the year they met at Caesar’s Camp in Bracknell.
Although they maintained a romance for a year, when Brian turned 18 he signed up to the Army and with no more work for the Women’s Land Army, Joyce returned to Birmingham.
The couple hardly saw each other, but three months before his time away with the Army was up, Brian received a letter from Joyce’s younger sister Jean.
He said: “The letter said ‘Joyce is still unattached’, so three months later I met her at Reading train station and I proposed to her straight away on the back of a bus.”
After saving up for the wedding, they married at Holy Trinity Church, Bracknell and have lived in the area ever since.
Joyce worked at the Forest Laundry in Broad Lane and Brian worked on the Crown Estate in Windsor, for Southern Electric and as a porter at Heatherwood Hospital.
He added: “I joined the Territorial Army in 1951 and was a member for 17 years in Wokingham.
“I was a Major in the Life Guards and worked for them for 60 years.
“But the Women’s Land Army were the forgotten Army – they didn’t get the recognition they deserved.
Joyce was awarded a medal last year in Maidenhead to thank her for her services to the Women’s Land Army.
She said: “We had never been acknowledged so it was quite nice really.
“We weren’t really classed as a force at the time.”
While the couple wait for the torch to pass through Bracknell on Tuesday they will spend their time with friends and keep up their gardening and fishing.