TEENAGERS Bill and Mary Coulthard were warned by family they were too young to get married and their relationship would not last.

But now 70 years later the couple from Market Lavington, near Devizes, have just celebrated 70 years of marriage.

Mr Coulthard said: "I was 18 and Mary was 17 when we got married on April 16, 1949. Our families were not happy so we only had a small ceremony. It is a shame they are not still alive today so we could have said 'told you so'."

But Mr Coulthard, 88, has had to eat his own words. He was stationed in Devizes as a young soldier with the Royal Army Pay Corps and when he left he vowed never to come back."

He said: "I'd had enough of Devizes back then but we have been very happy living nearby for the past 19 years."

The couple both grew up in Newcastle upon Tyne and met at a Christmas party in 1946 when Mr Coulthard was an Army Cadet and Mrs Coulthard was a member of the Girls Nautical Training Corps.

Mr Coulthard joined the Army after doing National Service and both he and his wife enjoyed military life and travelling the world. Mrs Coulthard said: "I loved our life and I think I was more upset than he was when he retired."

But some of their experiences in world trouble spots would not have been for everyone. They both recall a time in Aden not long after Mrs Coulthard flew out to join her husband when grenade throwing was a daily hazard.

Mr Coulthard said: "This one day I got back to our flat and Mary said I looked a bit white. I told her I had been nearly killed by a grenade which had been thrown in our street."

The couple have four children, twins Bill and Lynda along with Tony and Margaret. They also have five grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

Mr Coulthard ended up serving for 38 years in the Royal Army Pay Corps, travelling to all parts of the world on secondment to various regiments.

After his retirement they settled in South Cerney, Gloucester-shire, but moved to Market Lavington to be closer to daughter Margaret in 2000.

The couple both believe in settling any arguments before going to bed and believe anyone who says they never row are fibbing.