The money was excellent and he liked the lifestyle. The only problem was that he missed his wife Sheila, who stayed at the family home near Dudley to raise their two young sons.
So to keep the romance alive, he put a Valentine’s Day message in the Express & Star, sending love to “Scarlett,” from “Saudi Bill.” That was in 1983, and it’s a tradition he’s maintained ever since, despite returning to live with Sheila in 1988.
Now, at a party to celebrate his 90th birthday this week, Bill plans to share his love story with 90 guests.
Bill, who has been married to Sheila for 64 years, will celebrate his historic anniversary at the Shipway at The Lodge, Dudley on Friday evening.
To top it off, her granddaughter will bake a cake in the shape of a camel.
Bill met Sheila at the Saltwells Inn in Quarry Bank almost 70 years ago, said it was love at first sight – although he was one-sided initially.
The 20-year-old had just come out of the army at the end of his national service in Egypt when he saw 17-year-old Sheila in the bar.
He said: “The first time I saw her, I thought that girl was the girl I was going to introduce to my mother, because I would never introduce a girl to my mother unless I introduced her. ‘spouse.
The couple were married at St Augustine’s Church in Holly Hall, Dudley, followed by a reception at the Station Hotel.
During Bill’s time in the desert, Sheila regularly visited her husband in Saudi Arabia.
They have two sons, Stuart, 57, and Darren, 54, as well as grandchildren William and Issy.