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A request from  Pam Thorley,  44 Dan Meurant Drive, MS 1033, Gympie, 4570, Queensland, Australia. Or email ( ) on behalf of her mother Margaret Bidstrup, formerly Rhodes and Jackson, for her 80th birthday which is coming up on the 6th June 2003. The BBRC is grateful to Margaret and her family for the loan of these excellent photographs depicting life in the second world war.

Happy Birthday Margaret from the BBRC!




                                                                           Margaret in 1941                                             


Pam is wondering if any members might remember her mother as she would love to get in touch again.


Pam writes ôSo far the information I have is limited as Mum is having problems remembering the bases where she was stationed.


At the moment all I know is that she enlisted on 10/7/41, from Swinefleet, Yorkshire, and was called up 24/9/41 and did training at Innsworth in Gloucester. This base still exists today. Her service number was 2050224.  She was a telephonist and was stationed at RAF Hotel Riviera, Falmouth on D-Day which was also her 21st Birthday, her date of birth being 6th June, 1923. 


                                         Margaret at the RAF Hotel Riviera in Falmouth in 1944



 Her name on joining was Margaret Amy Jackson.  Previously Mum had been known as Peggy, but apparently a number of others in that intake were also "Margaret's" and so lots were drawn to see who would have which form and she became Margaret from then on.


When Mum & Dad married on 11th September, 1944, she was lucky enough to be able to wear one of "Mrs. Roosevelt's Dresses". Someone from the same station had drawn one in a ballot but was unable to use it, so Mum's Commanding Officer, intervened and Dad had a great surprise when he saw a traditional bride approaching and not a uniformed one. Mum was then Margaret Amy Rhodes.


                    1944 Breighton, East Riding, Yorks - Margaret becomes Mrs Rhodes


She was praised for staying at her post one night during a bombing raid, when everyone else (including officers) retired to the shelters. Apparently her switchboard was under a set of stairs and she crouched under the 'desk' part of the board, popping up to answer calls. "Dicky" Bird was calling in desperately requesting more ammunition as they were all out, but she wasn't able to put calls out, only in. Her 'Flight' rushed in from the cellar to ask if everything was O.K. and was gone again before she could pass on the message.  The walls of the building throughout this time were being blown in and demolished.  For staying at her post she was mentioned in despatches.   On another occasion she was on duty when the ceiling above her bed collapsed.  Had she been in it she would have been killed. She was discharged on 8th October 1945. She was a Corporal on discharge.

Her NCO's course was completed at Wilmslow, Cheshire in 1944 and she was then with 4Group, Bomber Command, Yorkshire.


                              Margaret 1944 at Wilmslow Cheshire NCO course (front row left)



I know one of her interests was Ballroom dancing which she and her partner were very good at."


          Margaret 1944 at Wilmslow Cheshire NCO course (back  row fourth from left)




         If anyone can help please contact Peter Garwood or Mrs Thorley direct.