Marjorie Moir, 96, has strong ties to the RAF and wanted to make sure that her cherished Spitfire coffee table found a good home after she recently moved to the town’s Dolphin View care home.
Sergeant Chris Fleming and Sergeant Kerry Chadwick were only too happy to accept it and the table will now take pride of place in the Warrant Officers and Sergeants’ Mess at RAF Boulmer.
Sergeant Fleming said: “We are thrilled to accept this lovely table which captures an important era in the RAF’s history. We will be inviting Marjorie to come and see it again soon.”
In 1939, 17-year-old Marjorie was enlisted into the Royal Air Force in the rank of Aircraftwoman 1, in Newcastle as an Orderly, which was a General Duties trade.
After her basic training near Weston-super-Mare, she attended a course to learn how to drive trucks, but being just shy of five feet tall, she was not big enough or physically strong enough to finish the course.
“They offered me a post as a chauffeur, but I didn’t want to do that,” she recalls.
She was posted to RAF Nutts Corner – later RAF Aldergrove and now Belfast Airport – in County Antrim, Ireland, which became an important RAF Coastal Command station and was also used as a transport hub for aircraft arriving from the United States.
She recalled keeping the logs for the pilots who had conducted sorties originating from RAF Nutts Corner, writing all their flying details onto a tape and updating the positions of returning aircraft. She later worked as a plotter, plotting the submarine and bomber movements in the North Atlantic.
She remembers that time vividly, especially when the American pilots began to bring over planes that had been manufactured in the USA and Polish pilots flew them over to England.
She said: “The Americans brought us chocolates, stockings and soap which were all hard to come by in those days.”
Also, because there was no rationing in Southern Ireland, the girls used to catch a train to Dublin with empty suitcases and come back with it full of make-up and clothes.
“I often got caught after creeping back in too late after a night out in Belfast – I was often confined to camp,” she said.
Marjorie absolutely loved her time in the Royal Air Force. She said: “It was a family – a family for life, and I met loads of people, two of whom I still write to today. I would recommend it to anyone. It gave me a completely different outlook on life – everything about my time in the RAF was good. I can still remember my service number (468792) – we had to know it by heart because that’s how we got paid.”
She also talked about being stationed at RAF Eastchurch on the Isle of Sheppey later in the war and watching bombers and doodle-bugs come over the English Channel on their way to bomb London.
Marjorie married her husband, who was in the Army, when she reached her 21st birthday in 1943 and was discharged from the RAF very shortly after the war finished.
Her family agree that it is the time in her life that she talks the most about and she is still entertaining the residents in the home with happy stories of her RAF career.