SISTERS Gill Scott and Alyson Hunter were compiling their family tree when they stumbled upon a remarkable find.
They discovered that their parents were forced to marry a week before they had planned, because dad, Stephen Atkin’s National Service call-up date coincided with his wedding day!
Stephen, from Craigmuir Road, Ferguslie, and bride-to-be Evelyn Norris, who lived nearby, had planned their big day for June 15, 1951, when Stephen’s “Z papers”, from the Crown Office, arrived on the doorstep.
The couple, who were extremely disappointed, had put so much planning into the wedding that they decided to try and appeal to the better nature of bosses at the War Office.
And that’s when a major coincidence kicked in.
Gill, who is 49 and works as a teacher for children with special needs, explained: “My sister and I decided to research our family history and we were going through a lot of old papers.
“We found the appeal letter to the War Office and I read it out to Alyson and my partner, Stuart McMillan.
“Apparently mum and dad had enlisted the help of Baillie Neil McMillan, a prominent member of Paisley society, to help with their appeal.
“Incredibly, it turned out he was Stuart’s grandfather.
“It was unreal, and my first thought was ‘I might have known we’d had dealings with his lot before!’”
It transpired that Baillie McMillan appealed to the War Office on behalf of Stephen and Evelyn, but the Whitehall organisation flatly turned down their request.
The reply stated: “Although I sympathise with Mr Atkin, it is not possible to alter his date of training.
“He has received reasonable notice and I do not think it would be impossible for him to make alternative arrangements.
“I agree that this may be inconvenient but I do not think it amounts to extreme hardship.”
The couple were forced to bring forward the date of their Paisley wedding and the ceremony went ahead one week earlier than planned.
Stephen, who worked as a pool attendant for Paisley Corporation Baths, then signed up and spent five years with the Seaforth Highlanders.
Gill, who attended Kirklandneuk Primary and Renfrew High schools, said: “It must have been tough on mum and dad because everything was planned and they were forced to postpone their big day.
“I thought they might have been granted some grace, especially as it was just training that dad was going to do on June 15.”
Then, Gill’s attention turned to her partner, Stuart, who was still smarting from the news of his late grandfather’s involvement in the case.
She said: “Isn’t it amazing to think that our families crossed paths more than 60 years ago?”
Stuart, who lives in Foxbar, said: “When I heard Gill read out that letter to Alyson, for the first time in my life I was speechless.
“I had been sitting, just minding my own business, when I heard my grandfather’s name mentioned. My ears pricked up immediately.”
Stuart, a prison officer at Glasgow’s Barlinnie nick, added: “Apparently my grandfather was quite a celebrity in his day, and shared the company of the former British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin on more than one occasion.
“It’s just a shame that he wasn’t able to help Stephen defer his call-up date, but it would appear he did his best.”