Maytime: Dating in the 1940s

The film Maytime was released in 1937.

The film Maytime was released in 1937. - Credit: Archant

Two youngsters sat holding hands in the Capitol cinema, Barking, one Sunday afternoon in 1949.

Pat, a pretty girl, was in her Sunday best and John who had been called up earlier in the year for national service, wore his army uniform ready to return to Colchester that evening, at the end of a weekend pass from barracks.

National service for young men of eighteen or over, if deferred to complete an apprenticeship, would not be phased out until as late as 1960.

As the couple left the cinema, Maytime, the title theme of the 1930’s movie they had watched, was being played,

They had a short trolley bus ride home, where they took tea with John’s parents living in Windsor Road, before strolling up the Ilford Lane to the High Road.


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They kissed as the 693 trolley bus arrived to take Pat home to Chadwell Heath and John, watching as the bus pulled away, acknowledged a wave before making his way to the Railway Station.

John had met Pat a couple of weeks before starting his national service in March.

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It had been Pat’s first evening at the dance club in Grovesnor Road, John who had two tickets, offered to take her to see an amateur stage play at the Town Hall, later in the week.

Their first date though not memorable, developed into a relationship, but all too soon they were sitting in a West End theatre, on the eve of John going in to the army.

Pat had booked to see Home of the Brave starring Richard Attenborough.

The star’s portrayal of a mentally disturbed soldier made the play more memorable than the play seen on their first date.

The last night of John’s embarkation leave prior to an overseas posting, had also been spent at a West End theatre.

Wild Violets the musical play they were watching lifted the mood of the occasion; as one song ‘Don’t say Goodbye’ was apt, this stroll back down Ilford memory Lane, ends happily they never said goodbye for another sixty five years.

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