PAMELA BATES  (Née Mockridge)

At the age of 17½, a dear friend and I joined the WRNS.  We had been students at RADA.  Our service training took place over 3 weeks at Mill Hill in North London and we were ready for war.  The Job Description was not known as it was secret, but apparently we were the sort of person needed to do the job.  The alternative would have been cooks or steward.  No thank you.

Soon we found ourselves at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire in November 1944.  We signed the Secrets Act in the presence of a burly 6’ 4’’ Military Policeman.  Woburn Abbey was our Wrennery.  Bletchley Park at its height employed 12,000 people.  For Winston Churchill, the men and women here were ‘the geese that laid the golden egg’. 

Pam Bates It so happened that on VE Day I was on leave.  My parents had a flat in Baron’s Court; my father was a regular soldier serving in Burma.  All was great excitement.  In the flats, there lived a Dutch family who had a married Dutch Commando Captain staying with them, who suggested we went up to Green Park to see what was happening and enjoy ourselves.

It was a beautiful Spring evening and the whole of Piccadilly from The Ritz to Eros was filled with people, mainly civilians.  If you were in the Services you couldn’t make the fun, unless you were on Leave or serving near London.   Long lines of people singing at the top of their voices ‘Coming Round The Mountain’, ‘We’ll Meet Again’, ‘Tipperary’ etc., were holding hands going in one direction, clapping hands and passing through the line coming towards you.  I had to put my chin strap down as I had my hat pinched twice; I got it back for a kiss.  Never saw the Princesses unfortunately.

Then to the Oxford Union Club where we met up with chums, and back through Green Park with people everywhere.  I don’t remember any flags as we didn’t need them as everyone was waving.  When we reached ‘Buck House’, I was hoisted up on the surrounding walls.  The area was packed and as it went dark we all screamed for the King and Queen and good old Winnie.

About midnight the place was still heaving and we made our way home on foot.  Luckily a taxi picked us up and gave us a free ride home due to our uniform.  Then to bed; quite an evening but I do remember, as I snuggled down, a couple of cats screeching.  The next morning I received a telegram saying that, as we had won the war, I was allowed a days extra leave.  But that is another story.

Pamela received the Bletchley Park own award, The Enigma Brooch, as well as the 1939-45 Victory Medal.

Compiled by Susan Moores - May 2015

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