A NEWLY-wed couple lost nearly everything except the clothes they were wearing when their caravan home was destroyed by fire at King Stone Farm, Long Compton, on Good Friday in 1963.

Wedding presents made to the pair, Mr and Mrs Anthony Silvester, were among the possessions lost in the blaze, which was noticed at 12.35pm by Mrs J.

Haine, wife of Mr Silvester’s employer, Mr HK Haine.

Mr Haine and Mr Silvester entered the bedroom of the burning caravan and managed to save a small amount of bedding.

They fought the flames with a fire extinguisher and with water pumped from a brook by a tractor.

Shipston and Chipping Norton firemen arrived, but it was too late to save the £600 caravan, which was owned by Mr Haine and had been occupied by Mr Silvester for some time before his marriage.

Raking in the ashes after the fire, firemen found Mrs Silvester’s engagement ring with the setting damaged but all three diamonds still in position.

Mr and Mrs Silvester, who were married in a double ceremony at Chipping Norton on March 30, were both working about the farm at the time of the fire.

Mrs Haine gave the alarm when she saw smoke and flames coming from the caravan, which was a residential model 34ft long and stood in a small paddock near the farmhouse. Mr Silvester had just received his wages for the week and they, too, were lost in the flames.

Firemen fought successfully to prevent the blaze spreading to a thatched cottage some yards away. It is believed to have been started by an electric fire igniting clothing.

The Silvesters were taken in by Mr and Mrs Haine.