A story of love and loss during wartime can be revealed today on the anniversary of the start of the Second World War.
The Sunday Post, published on September 3, 1939 and reproduced inside today’s paper, reports the wedding of a young couple in Perthshire.
Today, however, we can reveal that, within two years, the dashing groom would be dead, killed returning from a bombing mission over Germany.
Lorna Tarbat was 23 when she wed Kenneth Tuckfield, from Melbourne, Australia, at St John’s Episcopal Church in Perth on September 2, 1939. The following day, a photograph of their nuptials appeared in the paper.
However, drastic events were to overshadow their happy moment as the paper reported how Britain and France were to declare war on Germany after Hitler ignored warnings to withdraw his troops from Poland.
That day’s edition of The Sunday Post, reprinted in full today, is littered with news of developments in the escalating crisis: from the front page story calling on all men aged 18 to 41 to sign up for National Service, to the latest on evacuations of children from Glasgow.
And on page 4, the paper ran a nearly full-page map of Europe, with notes explaining the situation.
All this was happening as newlyweds Lorna and Kenneth were celebrating.
The sweethearts were both aspiring actors and members of Perth Theatre Company, where Lorna was a well-known principal.
In May 1940, their daughter Anne was born – but tragedy struck on November 8 the following year when Kenneth was killed in action, aged just 24.
Following the outbreak of war, he had enlisted in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. He flew with the No 58 Squadron and became a pilot officer.
Kenneth and the other men inside his Whitley bomber were killed during an operation over Berlin. The large raid on the German capital cost 20 Allied bombers and caused little damage.
Official documents reveal his aircraft was “believed to have crashed into the sea on return leg”.
His death is commemorated at the Air Forces Memorial in Englefield, Surrey which is dedicated to the 20,456 men and women from air forces of the British Empire who died during the conflict.
As well as being featured in The Sunday Post, the marriage was also reported in The Argus, a respected Australian morning paper.
Kenneth had been raised into a prominent family in Melbourne, where his father William was a celebrated dental professor.
Referencing Kenneth’s budding acting career Down Under, The Argus noted that the young airman “was a former member of the JC Williamson companies and the Gregan McMahon Players”.
His bride was described as having “played many important roles” while acting in London – including a leading part in the famous JM Barrie play, The Boy David.
Lorna – who was born in Kolkata, India – graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1936 and appeared in an early BBC TV series Cabaret Cartoons.
After Kenneth’s death, she landed a part in the 1943 British movie thriller Deadline – about a crime reporter who investigates the disappearance of his boss’s wife after she witnessed a murder.
Records show that after the war Lorna lived in the United States for a spell, and remarried.
She died on April 6, 1961 in Harrow, Middlesex, aged 45.
Legion Scotland said last week that, 80 years on from the outbreak of the war, it was important we paused to remember the generation who gave so much, and the selflessness and sacrifice of overseas service personnel such as Kenneth.
A spokesperson said: “More than 500,000 soldiers, sailors and airmen from across the Commonwealth laid down their lives over the ensuing six years.
“Each and every one of them represents a personal tragedy for the bereaved family and friends, many of whom continue to feel their loss today.”