Doris M NICHOL, WAAF, awarded British Empire Medal but where?

Discussion in 'The Women of WW2' started by Helen Brown, May 7, 2020.

  1. Helen Brown

    Helen Brown Member

    Can anyone help. My Grandmother Doris Nichol was awarded the BEM for not leaving her station during an air raid at a RAF base near Grimsby. I’m trying to find out which base this was. She had a fling with an Ulster Rifle man at the base before he left to fight in Italy. Does anyone know how I can find out which base she may have been at?? I will try to work out how I upload the clipping of her from June 12th 1942. Thanks in advance for any help. Her date of birth was 4/3/1914
     

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  2. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

  3. Helen Brown

    Helen Brown Member

  4. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    If you get her service record it should show where she was stationed. I had assumed that you already had.
     
  5. Helen Brown

    Helen Brown Member

    My mum has applied for it, but the wait is likely to be long at the moment, so just trying to find other ways to search in the meantime. `I’m a novice in this, so learning as I go.
     
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  6. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

    Hi Helen,

    2091118 Doris Margaret Nichol. Number indicates an enlistment around mid 1941.

    In the 1939 England Wales Register she's shown as living with a Harriet F. Robson at Alnwick. "Robson" has been scratched out and replaced with "Richardson". Okay, found it. Harriet F. Robson married William F. Richardson at Northumberland Central in the December 1939 Qtr.

    Both are shown as bus conductors.

    Regards,

    Dave
     
  7. Helen Brown

    Helen Brown Member

    Thanks Dave. She then went on to be a telephonist at a RAF base. I guess people did what they could during the war.
     
  8. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    You'll have noticed that at the time of the air raid her rank was leading Aircraftwoman, but by the time of her investiture, she is wearing corporal chevrons.
    She's still described as LAC in the June 1942 newspaper article, so presumably the BEM photograph is some time later, after her promotion.

    RAF air fields were attacked by the Luftwaffe from the middle of 1940, culminating in the Battle of Britain, but it seems gran didn't enlist until mid 1941, so an air raid between mid 1941 and mid 1942 in "East Anglia". Norwich was attacked in April 1942, but seems too close to June for an award recommendation to have filtered through the system, so likely to be earlier.

    It's possible she was posted to a bomber airfield, and an intruder may have spotted the runway lights and seized the opportunity to bomb the base.

    So, an RAF base on the East Coast/East Anglia bombed between say September 1941 (after basic training) and June 1942.
    Being a clippie for 7 years, she would have needed some time to adjust to being a telephonist.

    EDIT TO ADD: You mention Grimsby specifically, the nearest RAF bases were both 12 Group bomber bases at Binbrook and RAF Grimsby itself, which opened in 1941 and would probably have had new recruits plus a few seasoned hands. Being at the mouth of the Humber, it might have been easy to locate from a bomber. Binbrook opened in 1940 and it is noted as "subjected to enemy action" so either is possible... as may others...
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2020
  9. Helen Brown

    Helen Brown Member

    This is great, thanks. Do you think there is any chance of me finding the RAF base?
     
  10. Helen Brown

    Helen Brown Member

    [QUOTE="KevinBattle, post: 879933, member

    As the man she had an affair with was in the Ulster Rifles, is there anyway to know which RAF bases they may have been stationed at in case that could narrow it down?
     
  11. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    I avoided that out of respect. Almost 80 years on, I can't sit in judgment.
    All I can say is I don't see where the Ulster Rifles fit with an RAF base.
    But, since you ask (although it seems to have no relevance to her service) Wiki has:
    The 70th (Young Soldiers) Battalion was formed on 12 September 1940 at Holywood from the younger soldiers of the 6th and 7th battalions and volunteers of the ages of 18 and 19 who were too young for conscription. The battalion spent most of its time guarding airfields and aerodromes before moving to Great Britain in October 1941.
    If you are looking for any link to a chap in the Ulster Rifles, that could be the way to go.

    I've known of several people who have been the result of wartime liaisons, is it imperative to follow that line of enquiry?

    My wife was born in 1944, she knows she was adopted, but not her biological parents, she also had a "brother" but doesn't know if he is a biological sibling, but loves him as if he were - and who am I to say different. She asked me to find out, and i did, but there's no point in telling her any more than where she was born. Different times, different circumstances. It's VE Day so let's let THAT sleeping dog lie.

    My father was born in early 1918, his mother was married, yet he had her maiden name, I don't know the reason, but can guess. Does it make me any different?
     
  12. Helen Brown

    Helen Brown Member

     
  13. Helen Brown

    Helen Brown Member

    For me it is very relevant. My mum was born from this liaison and adopted. We’ve known for a long time who her birth mother was. Recently we have learned of who this man is and I know his military history but doesn’t say which base. My mum would just like to have the final piece of the jigsaw. I also do not judge at all. It appears my mother will have been conceived days before the man left for Italy. I can totalIy understand why that happened. My paternal grandfather died in Italy in 1943, so I certainly do not judge. I also underestimated how important this is for my mum, she’s now 76 and just wanted unanswered questions solving. She does not want to meet the families of the people involved but just to know her story. Her mother never remarried or had any other children. Her and my family is most definitely the family she was adopted in to. This bit of detective work is just the final chapter. On the approach to VE Day it’s made her think of this more. Happy VE Day to you and thank you for your help.
     
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