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The First Woman to Die on Active Service in the Second World War
In December 1939 it was announced that the first woman to die on active service was 885756 Aircraftwoman
Yvonne Rockingham of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Service. She was employed as a Cook and had been taken ill
22nd November 1939 and had died on 29th November 1939.
She was 39 years old and was married to an Air Ministry driver Mr W. N Rockingham of Wyecliffe Road, Coventry.
They had no children. She had only been in the services for about four weeks during which time she was anxious
“do her bit” and had only seen her husband on one occasion since joining up
when she had a few hours leave.
She was buried on Thursday 30th November at Wimbish Churchyard, Essex with all the honours of a full military funeral.
A Royal Air Force tender led by a Royal Air Force band carried the coffin which was covered with a Union Jack flag the 4 miles
from the hospital to the neighbouring village. At the grave was the officer commanding the camp, the camp adjutant and her own commanding officer.
of the officers gave her simple epitaph: “She was very much liked”.
A Royal Air Force firing party fired a volley over the grave and trumpeters saluted with the last post.
men and women from the airfield at which she worked stood to attention.