Barbara and Clive Cohen

Barbara: ‘My husband, Clive, and I moved to Hertfordshire in 2012. I worked as a legal secretary for many years and Clive owned garages before becoming a driving instructor. Our grandparents came from Poland and Russia. My father fought for Britain in the Second World War. He went away fit, soon after marrying my mother, but after years as a gunner came home very ill and suffered headaches for the rest of his life.’

‘These are my parents, Harry and Hetty Saunders, with me as a four-year-old. We are standing in front of my grandmother Leah’s house in Kingsbury, London.

Leah didn’t speak good English, but she spoke Yiddish, which we managed to understand. I can remember helping her cook and she often made a beetroot soup called borscht. I’ve always hated it but I make it for Clive, my husband, because he likes it.’

'Several years ago I found a wooden box containing my father’s war medals and a very touching letter he had written to me as a three-year-old. It said how much he loved me and that I should keep the letter safe to read when I am “a big girl”. It was very emotional to read, especially because he didn’t say much in later years; he was always a quiet man.’ 

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Clive: ‘My father was a doctor who served in the medical corps in Burma during the Second World War. He was operating, removing a bullet from a soldier, when the famous singer Vera Lynn walked in. He asked if she would like the bullet and she said yes! Many years later I wrote to Dame Vera asking if she remembered and here is her letter, confirming the story.’