Wartime army girls meet again

FOND memories were swapped when five former army girls from Ipswich recalled their days as rookie soldiers during the war.Pamela Evans, Edna Cawthorne, Vera Martin, Iris Eagle and Diane Havara joined the 143 Regiment 620 Battery, Royal Artillery, in 1942.

By Tina Heath

FOND memories were swapped when five former army girls from Ipswich recalled their days as rookie soldiers during the war.

Pamela Evans, Edna Cawthorne, Vera Martin, Iris Eagle and Diane Havara joined the 143 Regiment 620 Battery, Royal Artillery, in 1942.

All 80-years-old this year, they decided it was time to reflect on the good times – and so held an old- fashioned knees up at the Salutation pub in Ipswich.


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"We had the time of our lives and shared four happy years together," said Mrs Evans who worked as a telephonist.

"I was working at Churchman's cigarette factory in 1942 when my calling papers arrived.

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"I reported to the recruiting office and there I met Edna, Iris and Diane, after completing our tests we became friends and looked forward to getting our posting to a training camp which turned out to be Glen Parva barracks in Leicester.

"We went to all sorts of places. In Bath we were under canvass but all the girls got colds so the medical officer told us we had to move to another camp.

"The first place we went to was in Bristol. There was a suspension bridge and none of us had seen anything like that before because we had only lived in Ipswich."

The women, who all still live in the town, admit they were "real rookies" when they were first called up and were shocked when they had to drink from jam jars because there were no proper cups available.

"We learned to appreciate our parents and what they had done for us because we had to do everything ourselves," added Mrs Evans.

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