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Broughty Ferry couple recall capture by Saddam Hussein’s army as they celebrate diamond wedding anniversary

Dorothy and George Robertson celebrated 60 years of marriage.
Dorothy and George Robertson celebrated 60 years of marriage.

George and Dorothy Robertson celebrated their diamond wedding surrounded by their friends and family.

And as they looked back on their life together they recalled both the good and the bad – including being captured by Saddam Hussein’s army.

The Broughty Ferry couple were married at the Little Dunkeld Church, in Birnam, on March 3 1962.

George, 87, met Dorothy, 83, at the JM Ballroom in Dundee and they married around two years later.

Together they raised sons David, Neil and Malcolm while Dorothy worked as a staff nurse at the Bughties in Broughty Ferry and later Ashludie in Monifieth.

George and Dorothy celebrated their diamond wedding surrounded by family and friends, including much of their wedding party from March 3 1962.

It was in 1975 that the family first lived in the Middle East – temporarily relocating to Iran as George’s career developed with British Telecoms.

“Life was very good under the Shah,” George, originally from Brechin, said. “We joined the Iranian St Andrews Society and went to parties at the British Embassy.

“We went on holiday to swim in the Caspian Sea.”

The family returned from the Middle East in April 1976 before George was seconded to Kuwait, however Dorothy and the children would stay at home.

Captured by Saddam Hussein’s army

Later, George’s work would take him and Dorothy back to Kuwait – until Saddam Hussain’s Iraqi army invaded in 1990.

He said: “We were enjoying life (in Kuwait). We would come home for Christmas and had been on holiday in Cyprus.

“We were due to go up the Nile and then Saddam Hussein decided to invade on August 2 1990.

“The British Embassy said all British people should go in and stay away from the windows, and (the war) would likely blow over in a couple of days.”

However, it did not blow over and the pair were eventually captured.

Dorothy was able to flee the Gulf War to safety but George was captured and held in a chemical warfare factory in Baghdad.

He was one of the British expatriates who required medical attention and was rescued and chartered home by Virgin billionaire Richard Branson.

Together in sickness and in health

Now the pair are keen bowlers and have been members of Barnhill Bowling Club since 1973, where Dorothy was president of the ladies section.

And the key to a long and happy marriage, George says, is sticking by each other’s side in sickness and in health.

The couple received a card from the Queen to mark 60 years of marriage.

Dorothy has dementia but George makes sure the couple enjoy their years together.

He said: “We like each other’s company and we’re pals.

“When you take your marriage vows, it’s in sickness and in health.

“We’ve had the health, and now this is the sickness bit.”

George also has keen interests in poetry and genealogy and discovered distant family relations to Robert Burns and James Valentine, a Montrose sailor who died on the HMS Bounty.

Their 60 years of marriage was marked with a special card from the Queen, and their best man and many of their bridesmaids made it along to the party to celebrate.

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