Thomas And Ethel Bramwell's 'Brief Encounter' On Train Platform Leads To 70-Year Marriage

03/08/2013 11:22 am ET
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Subway riders know the thrill of locking eyes with an attractive stranger during a morning commute. But rarely do these chance encounters lead to a date, much less wedding bells.

"It’s hard to believe it’s been so many years, but we can honestly say we’ve got no regrets, which is a very nice feeling,” Ethel said.

thomas and ethel bramwell

The two met as teenagers when Thomas, then a worker at Manchester's Asbury Railway Station, helped Ethel and her friend off a train. It was a fleeting moment, but the two unexpectedly ran into each other again at a nearby hotel, where Thomas worked as a part-time waiter.

"It was her friend who fancied me and she’d brought Ethel along," Thomas told Manchester Evening News. "I had other ideas and managed to get Ethel on her own for a moment and I asked her to go dancing with me in town the following night. It was the best decision I ever made.”

WIthin a year the two were married on February 27, 1943, only to be separated weeks later when Thomas was deployed to North Africa and Italy during World War II. The couple was apart for two years, which now must seem like a drop in the bucket considering the Bramwells just celebrated their 70th anniversary last month. Thomas and Ethel have two sons, three grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Despite the great losses experienced during "the Good War," many romances that started in World War II are still flourishing today. Lloyd And Marian Michael recently had their stolen love letters returned to them after their 70th anniversary. The old letters were penned when Lloyd was deployed in Europe.

One letter described the devastation he saw in London. "I also see the bombed out areas. Maybe someday we can come together and see all these wonderful places," he wrote to his young wife. (The couple did make it to London together in 1982, after 40 years of marriage.)

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Earlier on Huff/Post50:

Married Couples: Then And Now
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