Ladies Group

ST OSWALD’S LADIES GROUP

Life in the Army!
After apologies for absence were received and business transacted June read prayers reflecting All Souls and a prayer for Remembrance. She also said a prayer for our new Vicar, Harvey Gibbons and his wife, Liz, and looked forward to welcoming them to St Oswald’s. June then introduced Liz Lawrence to talk about her life in the Army.

It is a significant year for the Women’s services as all are 100 years old this year. They don’t exist in their own right now and are completely integrated. She told us that she had served 25 years and 2 days and showed us the suitcase her mother had given her when she joined up. She brought interesting items from the suitcase during her talk including badges and photographs and even her uniform which she told us she could still get into! She had wanted to join the Police force but was two inches short of the 5ft 4ins required at the time. She joined the Territorial Army in Shrewsbury and enjoyed the varied time there but went on a recruiting trip to North Wales and joined up staying in for 25 years and 2 days. She rose through the ranks to be commissioned - her father gave her three weeks!

The Women’s Army was started by Queen Mary in 1917 and 57,000 women served in the First World War. That service was disbanded in 1919 and was reformed as the Auxiliary Territorial
Service in September 1938. It stayed as the ATS until named as the Women’s Royal Army Corp in 1949. HM The Queen served in the ATS and writes every year on that anniversary.
Liz wanted to be a physical training instructor but started as an admin assistant looking after servicemen and families. She described the various training courses she had conducted including
drill and chemical warfare. She was posted to Northern Ireland and for three years was undercover there which she described as a “hairy time” and then back to Camberley where she trained officer
cadets. She enjoyed training ceremonial drill. One anecdote was the discreet training of practising carrying coffins at Royal funerals and the weight of each person was recorded but the tragic death of Diana Princess of Wales threw them as no training for her had been carried out.
She became a Warrant Officer and then went to Bielefeld in Germany with the Royal Signals. She
was the first married Corps Regimental Sergeant Major. No wonder she didn’t need a microphone!
She recounted anecdotes of HM The Queen Mother and told us that on two occasions she had been personally sent for.
Her last two and a half years of service was as Schools Liaison Officer in North Wales which meant
she could get home each evening! What a lady!
Our Christmas meeting will be on Monday 4 th December at 7.30 p.m. in the Parish Centre and June asked if members could provide a small plate of goodies. Gerry Howe and Xavier Kruger will speak about their recent cruise.

Ann Boulton

December 4 th - Members night

January 4th, Snow White at Theatre Severn

January 8 th - Evening with Mr. Battams - Butcher

February 5 th - AGM

March 5th - Celebration meal 25 years

 

A selection of photos from recent meetings.