LOVE came out of the blue for Mary Graham who met her husband of 70 years, Alan, when he accidentally landed on the Marlborough Downs during a parachuting training exercise.

The couple, who live in Kepnal, near Pewsey, celebrated their platinum wedding anniversary yesterday.

They met when Major Graham was training in Wiltshire to parachute into Normandy.

After their first meeting, Maj Graham, then 19, kept cycling from Bulford to see Mrs Graham and the couple married in Marlborough Town Hall on March 2, 1945 just before the groom.

He and his united landed in a field in Ranville, Normandy on the eve of D-Day and were tasked with blowing up five key bridges. But is was in March 1945 when he was due to be parachuted into Germany that Mrs Graham felt she had to talk about getting married.

Mrs Graham, 86, said: "I had this particular wish that we should be together before he went off. I forced the issue by saying ‘I’d rather be a widow than a nothing’.

“We have no photos of the wedding because we buzzed straight off on the train full of soldiers from Marlborough to Scotland and we had about three days there before Alan had to go and do a parachute jump Rhine crossing.”

The couple’s first home was an American army hut on Marlborough Common where Mrs Graham lived with their first child, Marian, while Maj Graham was stationed in Palestine.

In 1947 the couple had a second daughter, Patsy, and moved to married quarters in Aldershot and then lived in Farnborough before Maj Graham was stationed in Germany where the family stayed for eight years.

The family also spent time in Naples and Cyprus, following Maj Graham to his various postings.

In the 1970s the couple returned to England and bought their first house in 1974 in Gillingham before Maj Graham returned to Germany.

Maj Graham left the army at the age of 50 and the couple lived in Maidstone until they returned to Wiltshire 20 years ago.

Mrs Graham said: “There aren’t any secrets to a long marriage you just live and it sorts its self out.

Maj Graham, 90, added: “Give and take and never leave an argument more than one day.”

The couple, who have five grandchildren and four great grandchildren, marked the occasion a family lunch at the Woodbridge Inn, near North Newnton on Sunday.