Centenary salute to RAF veteran who plotted survival in war and peace
PUBLISHED: 17:29 01 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:25 02 January 2020
Suffolk war veteran Midge Abbott celebrated her 100th birthday today with a special visit from two members of her beloved RAF.
Her family arranged for RAF Honington Flight Sergeant Jay Tailor and Corporal Matt Parker from Wattisham to present her with flowers and birthday wishes at Barking Hall Nursing Home in Needham Market, near Stowmarket.
Mrs Abbott served as a plotter, tracing aircraft movements in Britain's skies during World War Two.
After the war she and her late husband Maurice moved to his native Yorkshire where they were staunch members of the Royal Air Force Association for many years.
Her niece, Pat Perry, said: "She says her head and brain don't feel any different from when she was younger, just a bit slower.
"When first joining the RAF she said it was very hard to get used to as they had to sleep in freezing cold wooden huts and they had pillows stuffed with straw. She said it was hard but you soon got used to it and she then loved the life."
Mrs Abbott was born Marjorie Riddleston-Holmes in Stoke-by-Nayland but her family later moved to Lower Layham where she grew up and attended Sudbury Grammar School.
After leaving school she worked in the Ancient House in Ipswich but at the age of 21 volunteered for the RAF.
After basic training she became a plotter and spent three years at Corsham in Wiltshire before being transferred to Kirton Lindsey in Lincolnshire where she worked on tracing lost airmen.
Her husband was a navigator in Dakota and Blenheim transport planes, delivering supplies to India and Burma.
They married in 1946 and moved to Harrogate where Maurice became welfare officer and Midge secretary to the RAF Association.
Maurice went blind in 1990, believed in part to be as a result of night flying during the war.
He died in 1998 and Mrs Abbott returned to Suffolk to be closer to her family.
Mrs Perry said: "The RAF has been a massive part of her life, she and her husband lived for their work with the association after the war.
"They never had children, I guess you could say their fellow veterans were their family."