Memories of Edith Hunter, WW2 veteran

Posted on 06th March 2020 | in Community

We were sorry to hear of the death of Edith Hunter, aged 98. Edith was well known to Amble residents, appearing at Remembrance Day and other commemorative events, resplendent in her uniform and medals.

WW2 WAAF veteran Edith Hunter with Wing Commander Gareth Taylor, RAF Boulmer at the poppy exhibition at Woodhorn in 2015

Edith served in the WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force) during WW2, and afterwards became a long-standing representative of the WAAF association and the local British Legion branch.

She attended the D-Day commemoration last June in the Town Square, and afterwards talked to The Ambler about her memories of D-Day: “No-one was allowed any time off during those days. Everyone had to be on duty before 6am that morning. It was a busy command centre, we were always counting them out – and they didn’t all come back. I remember it was especially busy that day.”

Edith’s life

June Watson of Warkworth and Amble British Legion sent us this tribute to Edith.

Edith Hunter (formally Gray) was born in Washington, Co Durham and moved to Amble with her husband when he was transferred to the area working on the railways.

Edith was the daughter of a coal miner at the Glebe Pit, Washington, Co. Durham and signed up in 1942 for the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force during World War 2.

She signed on at RAF Gloucester in November 1942 as ACW2 466779 GRAY E. A week later she was posted to RAF Morecombe for 3 weeks of square bashing.

Afterwards posted to RAF Leuchars, in Fife, Scotland she worked in the office of the Officers’ Mess manning two phones and the tannoy system for the air station, plus other duties as required. It was primarily a Coastal Command Centre guarding the naval convoys of ships in the Atlantic.  In May 1944 she was sent on attachment to RAF Tain, Ross & Cromarty, Scotland ready for the D-Day preparations of 6 June 1944 and the launch of the invasion of France. Edith recalled being told that day ‘they would be working 25 hours not 24.’

In September 1944 Edith was posted to RAF Silloth in Cumberland. In August 1945 Edith and the whole camp went by troop train to RAF Kinloss, near the Moray Firth, in the north east of Scotland. She was demobbed in Birmingham, September 1945 and returned to live with her parents in Washington, Co. Durham and after a spell of six week’s leave started a new job in the local cinema.

After demob Edith became a life-long supporter of the WAAF association. They had annual rallies across the UK where ex servicewomen could reunite with their comrades who served their country during the war.

June Watson presenting Edith Hunter with a gift on the occasion of her 90th birthday, in 2011

Edith was a long-standing member of the branch and was always willing to represent the branch at community fund raising and commemorative events.  She always wore her coveted WAAF Association uniform with its distinctive blue tartan kilt, plus her medals and loved meeting people.  She had collected lots of photographic memories of her wartime service and the people she shared her life with on the camps.  Many of her photographs are of those pilots who did not return.

Thankfully her life story is now available to the wider public through her recollections on YouTube link:

The funeral service for Edith will take place on Friday, 13 March at 1.15pm at St Cuthbert’s Parish Church, Amble. All are welcome to pay tribute to Edith. She had requested the Royal British Legion standard and the Union Jack to be displayed. Loyal and patriotic to the end.




Share this...
Share on facebook
Share on twitter