'Brief encounter' at St Pancras lasts a lifetime

PUBLISHED: 14:56 16 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:25 06 May 2010

The couple beside the St Pancras statue

The couple beside the St Pancras statue

A CHANCE meeting at a train station at the end of the Second World War made the perfect plot for one of the most romantic stories ever filmed. But its real life equivalent proved to be more than a brief encounter when Frank and Beatrice Smith met in St

A CHANCE meeting at a train station at the end of the Second World War made the perfect plot for one of the most romantic stories ever filmed.

But its real life equivalent proved to be more than a "brief encounter" when Frank and Beatrice Smith met in St. Pancras Station in 1946.

The couple, who live in St Albans, celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary today.

And after St Pancras was contacted about the connection, the couple were invited to the station's champagne bar to celebrate 60 years of marriage.

Their eldest daughter Pat Slade described the visit as "wonderful" and added: "It was quite emotional for mum and dad."

Beatrice first set eyes on her future husband while she waited for a date who never showed up. Frank, on leave at the time, was standing under an archway wearing his Navy uniform, opposite what is now known as "the Meeting Place" where, appropriately enough, the statue of an embracing couple now stands.

Beatrice went on to board a train back to Harpenden - having been evacuated there from London during the war. Fortunately Frank was also travelling towards St. Albans and walked down the platform to see which carriage she was in.

They met on the train and were married two years later at SS Alban & Stephen Church in Beaconsfield Road, St. Albans.

Their granddaughters Sam and Karen contacted St. Pancras and Mr and Mrs Smith were invited to the Champagne Bar to celebrate the anniversary.

Mr and Mrs Smith, of Batchwood Drive, have four children, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren. They are celebrating the occasion with a party at Charles Morris Hall in Tyttenhanger on Saturday.

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