This article was submitted to the village magazine by Mrs Verna Ryan shortly after Remembrance Day and is the most moving of all the articles in this section of the web site.
It was the first time in over forty years that I had attended a Remembrance Service in St. Marys Church Feltwell and listened to the names of the fallen being read. They had once been real people young and vital, and I wondered how many of those listening could remember them as such, to most they were just names on a list, an important list, THE ROLL OF HONOUR and the last name, that of a woman.
Few in the church would have known her because half a century has passed since she died, but I did, I knew her. She was full of life, at school keen on sports, running in races and sometimes winning, taking part in the long jump and always enjoying it. She had been my pattern and I her shadow, but I could never keep pace with her for she was nearly seven years my senior and anyway I didnt have her athletic ability.
She was of Feltwell stock though not born here but on the other side of the world at Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1924, brought up for the next five years on a sheep station on the Canterbury Plains where our parents worked, they had emigrated two years previously in 1922.
When she was five they all returned to England living first at Dover then returning to their native village of Feltwell in 1930. Dorothy was then about six, she went to the school here, grew up here, and she had many friends, some of whom still live in the village and remember her. She was fifteen when war began in 1939. Recruitment for the armed forces was very keen and like many others she was eager to go, but was not old enough until December 1941 when she was seventeen and a half and then only with my parents permission which was not easy, however after much argument and persuasion they in the end gave it. Three days after Christmas she left home and became 109181 Pte Dorothy Lemmon A.T. S.
She was at first sent to Northampton then to Reading, after that to Anglesey where she was trained as a nightfinder on a gunsite. The gunsites were manned by four girls and a man who fired the gun. From there she was given some leave, it was three months since she had left home and she assured my parents that she liked army life. Her unit 511 HAA Battery RA. were then moved to Ashby-de-la-Zouce -near Manchester, where they were no longer m training but m action defending the area against enemy bombing raids.
In June she was granted another seven days leave, just before her eighteenth birthday. She seemed quieter this time and said very little about what it was like. On her return they moved again this time to the small village of Preston a few miles from Hull.
Hull was at that time suffering severe bombing raids from Germany on a regular basis, especially at night, Hull docks being their prime target and when the air raid warning went the girls alongside the men had to be on duty and were exposed to exactly the same dangers as the men, their only protection a few sandbags and a tin hat.
August 1st 1942 was a beautiful summer day but before lunch on that day my parents had received a telegram from the War Office that read, "We regret to inform you that your daughter, 109181 Pte Dorothy Lemmon was killed in action in the early hours of this morning." There had been a severe air raid on Hull that night and Dorothy had been hit by shrapnel.
She was just eighteen years old, which in those days was not even old enough to vote.
She had a military funeral, which took place in St Nicholas churchyard where she is buried amongst other village folk.
This is her story in case anyone should ask, "Who was she, and what happened?"
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