Nina Ansell, a resident at Zetland Court, in Bournemouth, was born on 22 September 1921. She had just turned 18 when the Second World War was declared in 1939. She worked in a wholesale gown department in London with her mother during those days. However, when the Blitz broke out in 1940, Nina was evacuated out of the city and joined the Women’s Royal Naval Service (known as the Wrens) in Portsmouth.
Portsmouth was heavily bombed in those days, so Nina moved again to Leydene House, in Hampshire, where the Naval Signals School was established. She worked there and handled the documents of the Operation Chastise, the code name for the raid that destroyed two dams in the Ruhr valley, Germany.
Nina’s Wren discharge letter, dated 2nd October 1945.
Before retiring in the 1980s, Nina had several other jobs. When she married her husband, they both became self-employed in the catering business and ran a tearoom, where they made cakes for weddings, which were rationed after the war.
Being now 100, she is often asked about how to have a long life. Her answer is simple:
Hard work and a good wine is the secret to reach 100!
Karen Casey, Activities Coordinators at Zetland Court, said:
Nina is an amazing woman. She’s kind and gentle, and has a naughty sense of humour!
[Summary: Centenarian resident Nina Ansell at Zetland Court, in Bournemouth, recalls her own wartime resilience in celebration of Women’s History Month in March 2022. During the Second World War, Nina joined the Women’s Royal Naval Service (the Wrens) in Portsmouth.]