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About Barbara

Barbara served as a Corporal in the Auxiliary Territorial Service during the Second World War. She was blinded in an air raid while travelling on a train, after being struck by flying glass.

Barbara came to our wartime base in Church Stretton, Shropshire, for training and rehabilitation, learning to read and write in braille and to type. She decided to train as a physiotherapist and did so in London, qualifying in 1946. Barbara was the first of our women blind veterans to choose this profession and she enjoyed a long and successful career working in Ilkley, Yorkshire. Barbara died in 2008.

In this interview from 2003, Barbara talks about her early life, her wartime experiences and losing her sight, and her time at Church Stretton.

An archive photograph of blind veteran Barbara showing a woman in uniform her sewing work
Blind veteran Barbara
An archive photograph of a blind veteran Barbara standing outside smiling with a group of female blind veterans
Barbara, centre left, with a group of women at Church Stretton
Blind veteran Barbara performing physiotherapy on a patient
Barbara trained as a physiotherapist
"A little plane dumped its three remaining bombs across the front of the train. Fortunately, I was in the rear compartment so I survived. I just happened to be facing the window at the time – I got a considerable amount of glass in my face."
Barbara Bell
Blind veteran