Sheila , one of our Residents at The Cedars, recalls some of her fascinating life experiences.
Sheila (pictured left) was born on 29th October 1925 in Kilburn, London.
She met her husband a Dutch soldier, when he was stationed over here with the Dutch army in 1946. “His name was Hendrikus but everybody called him ‘Joop’ pronounced ‘yope’.” She liked the look of him and as he didn’t speak any English she taught herself Dutch from a dictionary! Her job at this time and during the war was as a telegraphist at Central Telegraph Office in London. She applied with her best friend Cathy and they lied about their ages to get the jobs working underground deciphering morse code messages. As all the girls employed there saw no daylight they had to strip to their knickers once a week and stand in a circle where they received artificial sunlight from special lamps.
“I always caused an uproar as I couldn’t stop giggling at the sight of so many different shapes and sizes of breasts in the circle”.
“When Cathy and me went to the toilet we always went together and sang ‘Mares eat Oats’ to drown the sound of the bombing. We always used the same cubicles next to each other. One day I wasn’t at work and Cathy went on her own and a bomb dropped obliterating the cubicle where I would have been. Cathy was badly injured and was never quite the same again”.
Sheila married in 1948 (he died in 2010) they celebrated 50 and 60 years together and received cards from the queen.
They moved to Bexley Heath after the war and later retired to Dorset as they loved holidaying in the county and chose Shaftesbury as their dream place. They shared over 30 happy years together here.
According to her daughter Annie, Sheila has many other stories to tell so watch this space for further episodes!