100-year-old Florry’s amazing post-war reunion

100 year old Flory Robson sleeps through the celebrations pictured with family members(left to right) Ann Hewitt, Betty Hollis, Jennie Anderson, niece Jean Donnelly, Jack Robson and Dorothy Marr.
100 year old Flory Robson sleeps through the celebrations pictured with family members(left to right) Ann Hewitt, Betty Hollis, Jennie Anderson, niece Jean Donnelly, Jack Robson and Dorothy Marr.
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A GREAT-GREAT-GRAN who enjoyed an amazing post-World War Two reunion with the husband she thought was dead has celebrated a milestone birthday.

Florry Robson marked her 100th birthday with a party with fellow residents at the Bannatyne Lodge Care Home, in Peterlee.

The event was also held as a joint celebration to mark the birthday of Florry’s oldest daughter, Betty Hollis, who turns 82 tomorrow.

Florry has had a remarkable life, having being reunited with her husband despite a year thinking he had been killed in action.

Shotton-born Florry married David Robson in 1929 when the couple were both 17.

David was a soldier with the Durham Light Infantry and was called up to serve in the Second World War in 1939, when Betty was nine.

Betty said her father was captured at Dunkirk, but other prisoners had managed to escape by swimming away.

“He could have saved himself if he could have swam as the boats were picking the prisoners up” said Betty, from Peterlee.

“My mother got a telegram saying he was missing. We had to hope for the best.”

A year passed and Betty and her mother feared the worst.

Yet, one day out of the blue, Florry received a letter saying her husband was alive.

Betty said: “He had been found by Swiss nuns, who had treated him because he got shot in the arm.

“He was then taken to a prisoner of war camp at Stalag in Germany and was there for four or five years.”

At the time Florry was also mum to David, who passed away six years ago aged 73, Jack, now 77, and Jenny Anderson, now 75.

After five years at the PoW camp, David was the first prisoner to be repatriated in Shotton Colliery.

“We had all the streets decorated and everybody was stood waiting for him to come home,” said Betty.

“But he didn’t arrive until after midnight.

“What had happened affected him really badly, he was agitated.”

Florry and David had another two children, Dorothy Marr, now 62, and Ann Hewitt, 65.

David, who would have turned 100 on February 6, passed away aged 61.

Florry, who has lived at Bannatyne Lodge for 12 years since moving from her family home in William Morris Terrace, has 16 grandchildren, 33 great-grandchildren and 35 great-great-grandchildren.

Betty, a retired Eden Hall school caretaker and mother-of-six with 16 grandchildren and 17 greatgrandchildren, said: “Mam went to work when we had no money coming in.

“She used to clean behind the bar at the Throstle’s Nest.

“After dad died, she worked at The Gordon House at Shotton, which was owned by my brother Jack.

“She has been a good hard worker all her life.

“She has had a hard life but was always happy.”