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Enid Lewis

b. 1920 d. 2017 | Auxiliary Territorial Service

Enid Lewis was born in Carmarthen and spent World War Two serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service where she worked as an aircraft plotter in North Wales. She went onto witness the start of D Day and the London VE Day celebrations before moving to Germany to aid the British Control Commission manage the post war resettlement.

Summary

Enid Lewis was born in 1920 in Carmarthen. Enid’s mother was a suffragette and as a baby she was informally adopted by Bryn and Vera Jones who lived in Carmarthen, before later moving to Neath when Enid was in her teens. Enid enlisted in the Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1942 as an aircraft ‘plotter’ initially in North Wales before being stationed in Chatham, Kent where she witnessed the start of D-Day, 6th June 1944. She took part in the VE day celebrations held in London. Demobbed in 1946 with the rank of Lance Corporal, Enid joined the British Control Commission in Dusseldolf, Germany, helping in the resettlement of war. Enid married Gerry Lewis in 1947 whom she had first met in 1940 when he had been stationed with the Royal Artillery in South Wales.  Enid and her family moved back to Carmarthen in 1979 from Essex which she lived until she died in 2017.

Lance Corporal Enid Lewis in ATS uniform

Lance Corporal Enid Lewis in her Auxiliary Territorial Service uniform in a portrait photo taken during World War Two.

Enid’s DIaries

Enid’s annual diaries which were meticulously maintained between 1939 and 1947 paint a picture of a vibrant young woman fully enjoying life, the dances, parties and the frequent visits to the ‘pictures’ to see the latest film. Closer examination of Enid’s daily entries portray a calm and understated manner and approach to daily life during the war, including the frequent bombing of Swansea and seeking cover during air raids in pubs. Enlisting in the ATS Enid becomes an aircraft Plotter (though she doesn’t talk about her role), and she speaks again about the air raids, the Buzz Bombs flying over her accommodation, and hitching with her fellow ATS pals to London for VE Day. Post-war she describes in some detail her trips and social life in Germany with the British Control Commission. Throughout her calm disposition shines through. Extracts of Enid’s diaries are presented and it is hoped that the full diaries can be presented at a later date

Enid Lewis ( nee Lloyd)

Enid was born on 10th November 1920 in Carmarthen. As her mother wasn’t married she was informally adopted by Bryn and Vera Jones who lived in Woods Row in Carmarthen. Bryn worked on the railways and Vera in the stocking factory in the town. Her birth mother Constance was a tailoress and had been a suffragette who was once arrested for throwing a bag of flour at an MP. She was from a wealthy family but having a child out of wedlock was taboo and she was forced to give Enid up at birth although they managed to stay in touch with each other throughout Constance’s life.

Enid went to Pentrepoeth School in Carmarthen until she was 13 years old when the family moved to Neath as her father had been offered a better paid job. 

In Neath she attended the Gnoll School for a year but left at 14 and went to work in a corner shop. After a few years she went to work at a printing works in Neath where she trained to be a printer and stayed there until she was called up.

Christmas card and letter to Enid Lewis (nee Lloyd) and her family from SGNM Vernon Williams who was on active service with the 4th India Air Force Signals in East Asia. November/December 1944.

During this time she lived at home with her parents. She had a large circle of friends and they seemed to have a very good social life, even after war had been declared. The arrival of soldiers in the town was very exciting for the girls and Enid seemed to be out on a date with a different chap every other night. They usually went to the cinema or a cafe and the evening ended with a chaste kiss as these were innocent times. She met my father Gerry in 1940 when his regiment, the 138 Field Regiment of the Royal Artillery were stationed in South Wales. Two years later he was posted abroad and spent much of the war fighting in Italy and North Africa so they had to keep in touch by letter.

Enid was called up on 6th November 1942. She would have liked to have joined the Wrens as they has a nicer uniform but they already had their full quota and she didn’t fancy the WAAFs so it had to be the ATS. She was given a choice of working in the cookhouse or training to be a plotter, tracking German aeroplanes as they flew over the channel but as she hated cooking she chose the plotter’s role. Her first posting was Wrexham where she stayed until January 1944 when she was posted to Chatham in Kent.

She was in Chatham on D-Day and remembers there being tens of thousands of British and American troops in the town one day, but all gone by the next as the Allied Invasion had started. She also remembered the army creating artificial fog on the River Medway for two weeks prior to the invasion so that the troops could prepare for the big day without being seen by any German aircrafts flying overhead.

In November 1944 she was posted to Walberswick in Suffolk and from there to Winchelsea in Sussex.

In January 1945 she was posted to Branston in Burton-on-Trent which she hated because of the constant smell of the pickle factory. On VE Day, she and some army friends hitched to London to join in the victory celebrations. After the Germans had surrendered she was moved from plotting to general office work.

In March 1946 she was promoted to lance corporal and was demobbed on 13th May 1946 in Guilford.

In August 1946 she joined the British Control Commission and was posted to Dusseldorf in Germany. I believe her role was helping to process the thousands of refugees the war had created. She returned to the UK in January 1947.

During her army career she had 11 proposals of marriage and nearly married a Scottish pig farmer but decided the farming life wasn’t for her and accepted my father’s proposal instead. They were married in March 1947 and settled in Loughton in Essex where his father lived.

When my father retired in 1979 they moved back to Carmarthen.

Enid died on 13th June 2017 aged 96 years.

Written by Jane Lewis. January 2021

Enid and Gerry Lewis on their Wedding Day 8th March 1947_

Enid and Gerry Lewis on their wedding day on 8th March 1947. The two met in 1940 when Gerry’s regiment, the 138 Field Regiment of the Royal Artillery, was stationed in South Wales.

Enid Lewis and ATS 'pals'. Enid 4th Right

Enid Lewis (nee Lloyd) and pals from the Auxiliary Territorial Service during World War Two. Enid is on the far right.

Enid Lewis’ (nee Lloyd) clothing clearance certificate from her time with the British Control Commission in Germany, 1946. She was involved in the resettlement of refugees.

Enid Lewis. Anglesey Barracks Wuppertal Germany. 22nd November 1946. Invitation to the Ramnuggue Ball Hosted by the WO's and Sergeants of the 1

Enid Lewis (nee Lloyd). An invitation to the Ramnuggue Ball at the Anglesey Barracks in Wuppertal, Germany which was extended to Enid Lloyd on the 22nd November 1946, as well as a list of her dance partners. Enid, originally of Carmarthen, was in Germany as part of her work with the British Control Commission following World War Two.

Enid Lewis. Anglesey Barracks Wuppertal Germany. 22nd November 1946. Invitation to the Ramnuggue Ball Hosted by the WO's and Sergeants of the 1

Enid Lewis (nee Lloyd). An invitation to the Ramnuggue Ball at the Anglesey Barracks in Wuppertal, Germany which was extended to Enid Lloyd on the 22nd November 1946, as well as a list of her dance partners. Enid, originally of Carmarthen, was in Germany as part of her work with the British Control Commission following World War Two.

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Royal Navy | Cowbridge/Freshwater East