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Centenary salute to RAF veteran who plotted survival in war and peace

PUBLISHED: 17:29 01 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:25 02 January 2020

Majorie surrounded by members of her family and the RAF officers   Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Majorie surrounded by members of her family and the RAF officers Picture: RACHEL EDGE

RACHEL EDGE

Suffolk war veteran Midge Abbott celebrated her 100th birthday today with a special visit from two members of her beloved RAF.

Flight Sergeant Jay Tailor looks at Majorie's medals  Picture: RACHEL EDGEFlight Sergeant Jay Tailor looks at Majorie's medals Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Her family arranged for RAF Honington Flight Sergeant Jay Tailor and Corporal Matt Parker from Wattisham to present her with flowers and birthday wishes at Barking Hall Nursing Home in Needham Market, near Stowmarket.

Mrs Abbott served as a plotter, tracing aircraft movements in Britain's skies during World War Two.

After the war she and her late husband Maurice moved to his native Yorkshire where they were staunch members of the Royal Air Force Association for many years.

Majorie with her great-great niece and nephew and the serving RAF officers  Picture: RACHEL EDGEMajorie with her great-great niece and nephew and the serving RAF officers Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Her niece, Pat Perry, said: "She says her head and brain don't feel any different from when she was younger, just a bit slower.

"When first joining the RAF she said it was very hard to get used to as they had to sleep in freezing cold wooden huts and they had pillows stuffed with straw. She said it was hard but you soon got used to it and she then loved the life."

Mrs Abbott was born Marjorie Riddleston-Holmes in Stoke-by-Nayland but her family later moved to Lower Layham where she grew up and attended Sudbury Grammar School.

Corporal Matt Parker from RAF Wattisham and Flight Sergeant Jay Tailor from RAF Honington visited Majorie on her special birthday   Picture: RACHEL EDGECorporal Matt Parker from RAF Wattisham and Flight Sergeant Jay Tailor from RAF Honington visited Majorie on her special birthday Picture: RACHEL EDGE

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After leaving school she worked in the Ancient House in Ipswich but at the age of 21 volunteered for the RAF.

After basic training she became a plotter and spent three years at Corsham in Wiltshire before being transferred to Kirton Lindsey in Lincolnshire where she worked on tracing lost airmen.

Midge Abbott joined the Royal Air Force aged 21. Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILYMidge Abbott joined the Royal Air Force aged 21. Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

Her husband was a navigator in Dakota and Blenheim transport planes, delivering supplies to India and Burma.

They married in 1946 and moved to Harrogate where Maurice became welfare officer and Midge secretary to the RAF Association.

Maurice went blind in 1990, believed in part to be as a result of night flying during the war.

Midge Abbott and future husband Maurice met through their wartime service in the Royal Air Force. Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILYMidge Abbott and future husband Maurice met through their wartime service in the Royal Air Force. Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

He died in 1998 and Mrs Abbott returned to Suffolk to be closer to her family.

Mrs Perry said: "The RAF has been a massive part of her life, she and her husband lived for their work with the association after the war.

"They never had children, I guess you could say their fellow veterans were their family."

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