Right up until the end of her life, Nancy Worrall kept a faded black-and-white photograph of her wartime lover beneath the glass on her dressing table. Martin Preston was the dashing young Oxford undergraduate she fell in love with in 1938 — the fiancé she thought she would spend the rest of her life with before World War II separated them for ever.
Called up and sent to France to fight the advancing Germans, Martin penned Nancy a stream of achingly beautiful letters and poems, until one day they stopped arriving at her Buckinghamshire home.
Like thousands of women whose love story were torn apart by war in Europe, Nancy learnt to bury her grief and get on with her life. She went on to marry another man, and photographs of her husband and three sons also sat beneath the dressing table glass.
Juxtaposed with Martin’s ever-youthful face, they were a constant reminder of the flesh-and-blood family which could never have existed if her first great love had returned.
The separation of Nancy Worrall from her fiance Martin Preston during World War II is to be retold by her son Simon Worrall in a new romance novel, The Very White Of Love.