Family is clearly a source of joy to 91-year-old Bob Miller – he has an impressive 71 descendants and counting.

He and his wife Eileen had nine children, and he now has 23 grandchildren, 32 great-grandchildren (with another on the way) and seven great great-grandchildren (with another on the way) – bringing his progeny to a total, to date, of 71.

Totting up just how many descendants he has, Bob remembers being a father and a grandfather with a huge amount of pleasure.

“We had some lovely family holidays,” he said. “We enjoyed life.”

Bob was born on May 25 1926, between the wars, at Covingham Farm, son of Jesse and Ethel Miller. The family moved to Pennyhook Farm in Shrivenham, where his two brothers were born. Bob started school aged five, at Shrivenham and had to walk a mile or so in all weathers to get there.

Although he recalls they had no electricity, gas or running water at the farm – and only an earth toilet – he had a happy childhood.

“We really enjoyed life on the farm,” he said. “No stress of any kind, and of course we had the animals.”

The family moved to Watchfield in 1936, and as a lad Bob got a part-time job delivering milk, using a three-wheeled trike and a churn of fresh milk in the box at the front. He left school aged 14, and worked for a local butcher. War had broken out, so he joined the 214 Squadron Air Training Corps at Highworth, and when he was 16 started work at the Royal Military College of Science as an electrician’s mate, until he was called up for the army in 1944.

For a local boy, travelling to the barracks was a huge deal: “Going to Colchester was like going to another country for me,” he recalled.

After primary training, he was posted to royal Regiment Infantry, and was stationed in Norfolk before being posted to Italy.

“We travelled by train through France and Austria, not in carriages but in cattle trucks, which were filled with straw to keep us warm,” he said.

Then, in May 1946, aged 18, he met Eileen Doyle at a Shrivenham Memorial Hall dance. The young couple married on September 27 the following year at Swindon register office, then went for a honeymoon in Braunton, Devon.

Sandra was the couple’s first child. They went on to have nine children altogether, and were married for 64 years, until Eileen’s death in 2012.

While Colchester might have seemed a foreign land to the young Bob in the 1940s, their children and grandchildren now live around the world.

Yet Bob recalled how life was simpler when his children were growing up.

“You couldn’t afford to have nine children now,” he said. “Our children were always well fed and looked after.”

His daughter, now Sandra Mayo, also has fond memories of their childhood.

“We never wore anybody else’s clothes – I remember the dresses Mum used to sew. All the girls used to sew.

“Having a big family was not so unusual then. As I got older, more children were born,” she said. “My youngest brother was only three years older than my first son. And as we got older, the older ones would help look after the little ones, though I was working when Mum had Wayne. It was a very happy childhood.

“Mum never had a washing machine until I got married – she had a copper in the shed,” Sandra said. “That’s where she washed all the terry nappies. And the first holiday we ever had was in 1966, in Dawlish.

“We had no central heating and the girls were all in one room, and we had ice inside the windows in winter, so we had Dad’s old army coat over the bed to keep us warm. But we enjoyed life.”

Bob and Eileen were a devoted couple over the many years of their marriage. Bob was a hands-on dad who would help with nappies and spent a lot of time with his children.

“Mum and Dad never did anything without each other,” Sandra said.

The couple moved to Wroughton in 1995, where Bob still lives. He worked at the fire station, and afterwards at Vickers in South Marston, Express Dairies in Faringdon, and Metallo Medical (later Biomet) in Swindon, till he retired aged 65.

When Bob and Eileen celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary in 2007, they received a letter of congratulation from Her Majesty the Queen, and they travelled to Salisbury Cathedral to retake their vows, 60 years after first making them.

He still enjoys gardening and going out for a meal but deeply misses his wife after a lifetime together.

“In the car now, I have a picture of her stuck on the door of the glove compartment,” Bob said. “It’s hard when there is nobody by my side.”

Their offspring now live as far afield as Australia, with family members in Malta and Spain, as well as closer to home in Devon, Northampton and Faringdon.

Bob has a living room crowded with pictures of his extensive family – and while they might not all get together often, he said they were always there for each other.

“If there was a problem, they would be together,” he said.

Shrivenham primary school, which Bob attended, is now educating the fifth generation of his family as he has a great great-grandchild at the school.

After such a long marriage, and such a big family, Bob is often visited by his locally-based daughters, but said it was sometimes hard to be alone. When he looks back on his life, however, he has a very positive view.

“It was marvellous,” he said. “I’d do it all again! We all make mistakes, of course, but I always got on well with people.”