Among his favourite postings was a two-year exchange with the Royal New Zealand Air Force (1954-56), although the rules stipulated that Joy was not able to join him until he had turned 25.
Ah, no, that’s not quite true.
They were both 17 and would often meet on the staircase, but it was not until they were 21 that she agreed to marry him.
The rule was that an officer was assumed not to marry before that age of 25. Which meant no married quarters before that age. Also, no rental allowances, no transport for anyone other than the individual officer. And actual military incomes were v low. It was marriage allowances etc that made life possible, those allowances that weren’t available for the under 25s.
My parents got caught up in this. Married at 23 then Pops was posted to Malta. Mum – along with another similarly placed naval wife – went by commercial boat. Rented in the private market. And had no aid or help from the Navy at all. Pops then posted off to the Pacific – Christmas Island for that test – and she had to make her own way back to England with babe in arms and 8 months pregnant.
She sat in the married quarters allocation office in Portsmouth until eventually, out of embarrassment, they gave her some keys. Next morning they came around and evicted her.
She still spits with rage about it today, 60 years later.
Joy could have joined him. It’s just that there would have been absolutely no help nor aid of any kind. And NZ wasn’t a cheap place to get to back then….