By Tristan Harris Wednesday 27 February 2013 Updated: 27/02 09:23
A BROMSGROVE woman who served as a Wren in the Second World War is being given the chance to go back to one of the places she was based at during the conflict, thanks to a Big Lottery Fund scheme.
Wendy Hogarth, now 89, joined the Fleet Air Arm of the Women’s Royal Naval Service and, after being trained as a radar mechanic testing aircraft equipment, she was relocated to Arbroath.
Prior to being moved to Scotland, she was at RAF Defford and met her husband-to-be George, a Scottish night fighter pilot who flew Mosquitoes. Later he undertook intruder patrols, flying out seeking targets to bomb, such as trains and ammunition depots.
Wendy and George married in September 1944, four months after they had met, but were separated a short time later when Wendy was relocated.
But, while on leave, George visited her in Arbroath and the couple had a memorable new year's eve together.
Sadly George passed away in 2011, just before his 90th birthday, but now, Wendy is returning to the Victorian mansion, Letham Grange, in Arbroath, to bring back those happy memories of that new year's eve.
She said: “Those days were very important to us – when we bought our first house we called it ‘Letham’ and our second ‘Letham House’.
"This is why I want to return to Arbroath - those few days together that new year were very special.
“George came up on leave and we stayed in a hotel on the main square.
"What a difference new year's eve was – the town went mad – dancing in the streets and bands playing."
She said being apart was nothing unusual during the war.
"I never worried too much about him – I guess we were young and very positive and never thought anything would happen to us.
"We wrote to each other a lot – loved ones writing to each other everyday was not unusual during the war."
Wendy's trip to Arbroath has been organised through the Heroes Return 2 programme.
More than £25million has been awarded to over 52,000 Second World War veterans, widows, spouses and carers, since 2004.
The cash has paid for journeys in the UK, to France, Germany, the Middle East, the Far East and beyond.
And now, veterans will be able to apply for funding to go a second time.
Wendy is looking forward to her trip and is urging other Second World War veterans to apply to the fund.
The Big Lottery Fund's head of region for the West Midlands, John Taylor, said it was an honour and a pleasure to be helping the veterans make a Heroes Return commemorative visit.
"They let us know how important these visits are to them - whether it be a trip to London’s Cenotaph on Remembrance Day, a visit to the beaches of Normandy, or journeys to war cemeteries in the Far East.
"The experiences they revisit remind us we must never take for granted the peace this generation secured for all of us and the debt we owe for the freedoms we enjoy and value today.”
For more on the scheme and how to apply, call the Heroes Return helpline on 0845 00 00 121 or visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/heroesreturn
A GROUP of men suspected of helping runaway
ACCIDENT and emergency, maternity and children's services at
THE HEAD of the Save the Alex Campaign
A FORMER Hanbury pub landlord has been jailed
A SIXTH man has been arrested as part of the ...
THE case against a retired police officer charged with the ...
ONE OF Worcester's most historic buildings has been brought back ...