Family celebrate first ever reunion in honour of WWI veteran and his wife
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Family celebrate first ever reunion in honour of WWI veteran and his wife

THE family of a WWI veteran who fell in love with his wife the first time he set eyes on her, have celebrated their first ever reunion.

Around 76 adults and children attended the get-together that has taken one year to plan, on Saturday, July 11 at Gatwick Manor.

Family members from both sides of the Irish Sea descended on the venue, with the eldest being 81 years old, and the youngest just 11 days old.

Thomas William Davis from Arvagh, Co Cavan, was 23 years old when he met 17-year-old Rose Conlon, from Duleek Co Meath in March 1915.

They married just five months later, and the couple remained together until they died twelve years apart in 1975 and 1987.

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Annette Gregory, who lives in Doncaster and is the granddaughter of the couple in whose honour the reunion was held, said that the gathering “exceeded all expectations.”

Relatives arrived at the venue throughout the afternoon, before photographs were taken at 7.30pm.

Ms Gregory delivered a welcome speech on behalf of the British contingency, whilst cousin Lorraine McCabe did the same on behalf of their Irish counterparts.

She also read out a poem about the Garty Lough in Arvagh that was written by Mr Davis, who was well regarded for his passion for writing, which was published in the Anglo Celt many years ago.

Throughout the evening songs were sung by members of the family, and celebrations continued with the cutting of a cake that had a photo of the grandparents’ printed on it.

Thomas Davis, the eldest grandchild of the couple, said that the event had been a joyous occasion for the family.

"This was an incredibly moving event, to see aunts we hadn't seen in years, cousins, we had never met, and to witness Cecily, at 11 days old, in the arms the eldest 'Davis'.

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“It was four generations of pure family fun!”