Shoreham wedding photo mystery – can you help?

Can you help identify the bride and bridegroom in this wedding photo, believed to have been taken in Shoreham in the 1940s or 1950s?

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 10:33 am

Avril Hodgkins, who lives in the Redhill area, came across it while sorting through a collection of letters and photographs she inherited from her mother, Barbara Hodgkins née Boone.

She has made great efforts over the years to try to trace the happy couple but has so far drawn a blank, apart from being able to confirm the church as St Mary de Haura.

Avril said: “From an iconic photo taken on a wedding day, I have been trying for a long time to find who the couple are, taken at St Mary de Haura Church, Shoreham between the 1940s and 1950s.

The church is St Mary de Haura in Shoreham but who are the people?
The church is St Mary de Haura in Shoreham but who are the people?

“Genealogy is my hobby and it would be lovely to reunite this photo with the family of this wedding couple.

“My mother passed away in July 2015 and I inherited from her a collection of letters and photos. I was going though them when I came across this wedding photo, which was lodged in between papers and I thought was connected to some letters. There is nothing on the reverse of it.”

Barbara was born in July 1923 and went on to serve in the ATS during the Second World War, so it is possible the photo is connected to one of the friends she made there.

Avril said: “Although I think she may have met the bride through her service, she does not feature in any of the photographs I have.

Barbara Hodgkins nee Boone, left, with her ATS colleagues

“In studying the photo, as the bridgroom and best man, a Corporal, look so alike, I feel sure they are brothers and the bridesmaid could be their sister.

“A couple of years ago, I tried to find out who the couple were, gave up, and then during lockdown I resumed my quest. Hopefully, the family are still in the area.”

At first, Avril was sure the bride was Margaret Davies, a friend and witness at her parents’ wedding, then a Margaret Avenell, as there were letters from her.

Avril said: “After various twists and turns – I thought I was close - I located the author of the letters, who lives in Goring, and have met her but she is not the bride in this wedding photo.

The church, with the distinctive door, in November last year. Picture: Steve Robards SR2011144

“The identity of the church was a puzzle also for a long time but eventually, someone identified the church as being St Mary de Haura in Shoreham and I believe the wedding probably took place between around late 1940s to early 1950s.”

Avril has details of ten newspaper wedding announcements that took place between 1948 and 1953. She has whittled them down to seven and plans to send off for one of the marriage certificates in the hopes of finding out more.

If you can help, please email [email protected] with information.