Molly’s Story – Family Life

After her early career in the forces, Molly moved to Coventry to start her family life with Bill


Whilst in the army Molly, a PT instructor, was asked to take a group of girls to a dance. She didn’t know any of the girls nor anyone at the dance. So when they arrived she asked if there were any other PT instructors there.   She was directed to a group of men standing in the corner and she waited until there was a Lady’s Excuse Me dance and then asked one of the instructors to dance. Initially he refused saying he had “two left feet”. But when his colleagues offered to dance with Molly, he quickly changed his mind. When they got on the dance floor, a spotlight followed them all around the floor and Molly only found out afterwards that it was his 21st birthday. That’s how she first met her husband – Bill.

In 1956, Molly married Bill Shortland. The wedding was held at Thomas Cooper Baptist Church in Lincoln.   The Church was subsequently demolished when an unexploded war time bomb was found beneath it. The wedding cost £60, which included the cost of a honeymoon in a caravan at Yarmouth / Lowestoft. While in the caravan, Molly and Bill both bent down at the same time and Molly ended up with a black eye which she had to explain to her mother when she got home.

After they were married, they moved to Coventry where Bill lived. Molly got a job as a dictaphone typist at Armstrong Siddeley and later she moved to BRS but had to leave after six months to have her first child. They now have three children – Janet, Peter and Kenneth and one grandchild, Charlotte.

To start with, they rented a house opposite the Butts Technical College in Coventry. It was 14 shillings a week. They later saved up a £100 deposit to buy a house at 3 John Gray Road in Cheylesmore. It cost around £1300. At the time, Bill was very ill and Molly was given special permission to buy the house because at that time, women were not able to buy houses. In order to pay the mortgage, they took in three lodgers to pay their way.

Holidays were expensive but with the Co-op you could get a chalet at Rhyl for £10 a week. You had to be a member and you had to queue up to book as the holidays were very popular. They travelled from Coventry on a motorbike and sidecar – Bill and Molly on the bike and two children in the sidecar. On holiday they had games like sack races and wheelbarrow races and they also played bingo and went dancing during the week away.

When the children were more grown up, Molly went back to work as a Lollypop Lady. She worked at Manor Park School. One day, while working on Davenport Road, Molly was standing in the middle of the road with her lollypop stick when she saw a wheel rolling down the road with a man chasing behind it. She managed to stop it by swiping it with her lollypop stick.

On the 12th June 2009, Molly was invited to tea in the Coventry Lord Mayor’s Parlour and the Lord Mayor, Jack Harrison, presented Veteran Badges to all the guests who had spent time in the services.



Bill and Molly are now approaching the

60th wedding anniversary in 2016.

 ManSmilew-BIGboard Cropped 177



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