14 September 2022

Verena – the day I met Princess Elizabeth

Growing up, Verena who is now 96 lived in Malvern, Worcestershire in the United Kingdom. Luckily for us she now lives in our Dalmeny home in southern NSW. When WW2 broke out, Verena told her father who had fought in WW1 that she had to help and was determined to do her part. Her brothers were fighting for their country, and she wanted to also help. Of course, her father tried very hard to talk her out of it, but she is a determined lady and went ahead.

It wasn’t long before she was doing top secret work in electronic communications, making equipment to bomb Germany. Her mission was to make the guidance equipment that guided bombs in the planes that flew over Germany to accurately hit their targets.

On one occasion, she was required to deliver parts to a secret location in London. After catching the train from Malvern to London she was met by a car with a very familiar driver, Princess Elizabeth – the same age as Verena. Of course, Verena immediately recognised the young Princess, and they began to chat. Princess Elizabeth explained that she too wanted to join in the war effort, and lobbied her father, King George VI to allow her to serve her country. He finally agreed to let her volunteer in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service, the women’s branch of the British Army, where she became a driver and trained in auto mechanics.

When they arrived, Verena asked if Princess Elizabeth could also come into the location to have a look at what was going on, as she was very interested. She was denied as she didn’t have the top-secret clearance that Verena had. Verena has mentioned the wonderful time spent with the Princess and how easy she was to talk too. “It was just like talking to a friend, she was exceptionally easy to talk to, and very friendly, she could talk to anyone”.

Verena was then escorted back to Malvern by another driver and sadly never got to meet the Princess again, but she did write to her as part of her Jubilee to congratulate her, along with the other residents of Dalmeny. Verena also met her husband as part of her incredible job. He was also involved in navigation and was in the Airforce, regularly picking up the top-secret parts that Verena made and using them in the planes he flew over Germany. Verena continued in communications after the war and was a huge asset to England.

She has now lived in Estia Health Dalmeny for several years and loves it. A very popular resident, she is full of wonderful stories, a very quick smile, and a wicked sense of humour. A truly delightful resident to chat with and a delightful lady.