A Wedding in the Midst of War

Both my maternal and paternal grandparents were married during World War Two. That was nothing unusual, in fact probably every family has ancestors that were married during that era. They married before the man was sent off overseas or elsewhere for training, or they married when he came home on leave.

This post is about my maternal grandparents Cecil Hannaford and Evelyn Randell. Both grew up in the Adelaide Hills, Cec (as he was known) was an orchardist at Cudlee Creek, and Evelyn grew up at Gumeracha on the family farm, so no doubt knew each other through being in neighbouring towns.

While my grandma, Evelyn was a brilliant diary keeper, sadly 1941, the year she got married, is one year that doesn’t seem to have survived. So without her words to tell me what her wedding was like, we simply have to rely on other sources. For that I turn to Trove for the newspaper notices, and any wedding photos. Fortunately my family were into putting notices in the newspaper, so I found an Approaching Marriage notice in The Advertiser.

Family Notices. (1941, May 28). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved October 28, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article45006592

Family Notices, The Advertiser, 28 May 1941, p.8

And I am fortunate that my family has wedding photos of my grandparents wedding too. Now I hadn’t thought of this before, but they were married at the Salem Baptist Church at Gumeracha in the Adelaide Hills, and the photos were taken by a photographer in Adelaide, which means sometime after their wedding they got redressed up in their wedding gear, headed to Adelaide, and had them done. I don’t know when this was done, as the photos aren’t dated. But Cec was on leave from the Army to get married, and was back with his battalion only 4 days later, so maybe it was at that time – maybe it was later again? Unless we find another source, we’ll probably never know.

Evelyn Randell and Cecil Hannaford wedding, studio portrait. Married on 31 May 1941

Evelyn Randell and Cecil Hannaford wedding, studio portrait.
Married on 31 May 1941

Evelyn Randell and Cecil Hannaford wedding, studio portrait with their wedding party. Married on 31 May 1941

the entire wedding party at the studio. Married 31 May 1941
L-R: Patricia Hannaford, Dorothy Randell, Evelyn Randell, Cecil Hannaford, Restyn ‘Pete’ Randell, Win Chapman, and Nance Harding

Now the only thing that’s better than the newspaper notice of the wedding, or even the studio photos, is actual photos of the wedding taken on the day. Sure, they’re not studio-quality photos, but they are ones from the actual wedding day, and until a few days ago I didn’t even know these candid shots existed.  So hands down the cake cutting one is my fav.

Evelyn Randell was the youngest daughter of John Beavis ‘JB’ Randell who lived at “Kenton Park”, Gumeracha, the wedding reception was held there.

cutting the cake the reception that was held at 'Kenton Park', Gumeracha

cutting the cake at the reception that was held at ‘Kenton Park’, Gumeracha

the whole bridal party for an informal photo at the reception

the whole bridal party for an informal photo at the reception

Evelyn Hannaford (nee Randell) with two of her bridemaids

Evelyn Hannaford (nee Randell) with two of her bridesmaids

Grandpa left to return to Army training just a few days after being married, and he left for overseas a few months after that So for a newly married couple of a few days that wouldn’t have been easy. Let alone the fact that he was going off to war! No phone. No texting. No skype. No email. Just letters. Anyway all worked out, and Cec was discharged in 1944.

Just as a side note, my grandma’s wedding dress, and one of her bridesmaids dresses still exist (and yes they’ll be future blogpost material), and I shall make mention of my paternal grandparents wedding in another post later too.

9 Responses to “A Wedding in the Midst of War”

  1. Alan Phillips says:

    They would have known each other more through the church they both attended (Salem Baptist), than the fact they were in neighbouring towns.

    One person on the bridal party, Pat Hannaford, sister of Cec, is still alive 72 years later. And still living in her own home at Mandurah south of Perth – approaching her mid 90s. Anthea and I visited her when we were in WA earlier this year. Pat is at the far left in the photo of the full bridal party (2nd photo from the top).

  2. A lovely collection of photos to tell a story.

  3. I also started to collect the wedding photos of all the family – and was missing only one, until, going through a couple of boxes (loaned by a very generous cousin) found a small tatty photo of the missing sibling in her wedding gown. I was ecstatic!

    A great share, thanks +Alona Tester

    • Alona says:

      Excellent work on collecting wedding pics of your relis. There’s many I don’t have any for. But just thankful for those that I do.

  4. Erin vallance says:

    I believe Dorothy Randell is my grandmother.
    She is still alive in her 80s in Adelaide

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