TRIBUTES have been paid to a great, great grandmother who helped plan missions for RAF fighter pilots during the Second World War.
Ethel Andrews passed away in August after being admitted to Rochford Hospital following a battle with pneumonia.
The 98-year-old had spent the last seven years living in supported housing at St Luke’s Place, in Rochford, following a move to Rayleigh after the war.
Ms Andrews enlisted with the Women’s Auxilliary Air Force when she was just 17-years-old, based in Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, where the Wellington bombers flew from.
While she was quite guarded about her work, she helped out in various roles including plotting the routes of the RAF planes during the Second World War.
She left the force in 1945 shortly before VE Day to give birth to her daughter, and then spent the rest of her life running a pub in Great Chesterford, and reliving a lot of her air force adventures by visiting air shows across the country.
Ms Andrews’ daughter, Jean Sleap, 75, said: “She always used to go around the subject, she never put much detail into what she did.
“She relived it over the years by going to Duxford Air Shows and visiting the Vulcan at Southend Airport.
“She moved to Great Chesterford for a while and they ran a pub with her new husband, and then was alone as he passed away.
“The last seven years we had her into supported housing. She had everything around her to do with the war, and lots of pictures, she managed to make 98 but unfortunately not 100.”
Ms Sleap has set up a fundraising page for people to donate to the charity Breast Cancer Now, instead of giving flowers to the family.
It has so far raised £380.
Ms Andrews is survived by her daughter, two grand children, seven great grandchildren and five great, great grandchildren.
Ms Sleap added: “We couldn’t really get much out of her.
“It’s a shame really but she really enjoyed herself afterwards.
“She was very into the Royal Family, she respected them greatly, a very British woman.
“She loved all her family, my son popped around with some flowers for her with a little tribute which read ‘Thank you for putting me on the right path in life’.
“They were all very close to her and she loved spending time with them all.
“In her last few weeks she was at the Princess Anne Ward in Rochford Hospital and they were absolutely wonderful, the doctor kept us up to date every day.
“It was very peaceful in the end.”
The funeral will be held at the Sutton Road Crematorium on September 11, and people are welcome to line the road near the venue to honour Ms Andrews, whose coffin will be led by two horses.