Newcastle WWII veteran marches on Remembrance Sunday with 100 year old military charity

2 November 2015 16:10

A local blind veteran who has received vital support from Blind Veterans UK has marched to the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday with Blind Veterans UK.

Pamela Woodford, 93 and from Longbenton, marched with more than 100 other blind and vision-impaired veterans supported by Blind Veterans UK. She was also be joined by her Grandson James who pushed her wheelchair.


Pamela joined the Women's Royal Naval Service (WRNS) in 1941 and trained as a plotter.

Pamela says: "I still lived at home when I first started working as a plotter in the war and I would go out to HMS Calliope almost every day.

Blind veteran Pamela - Remembrance

"Around the coast there were stations looking for ships and they would report back the ship's numbers to us. We would then check as to whether they were ours or the enemy. There was a huge map on the floor with wooden blocks representing all the ships."

Pamela was later posted to HMS Victory in Portsmouth and was on duty on D-Day.

She adds: "We knew the invasion was due to happen at any time and I happened to be on duty. I remember feeling very sorry for all the men heading out as the sea was so rough."

She was discharged in 1946 as a Leading Wren but went on join the Auxiliary Navy in Tyneside serving for almost 20 years. She left at the age of 69 and was awarded an MBE for her service.

Pamela began to lose her sight 10 years ago due to age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), a major cause of blindness and vision impairment in older people. She found out about Blind Veterans UK while attending a talk at her local Wrens Association.

She says: "I always knew about Blind Veterans UK, or St Dunstan's as it used to be called, but I thought it was a charity that just helped war-blinded men. I was so pleased when I found out that they help veterans who lost their sight later in life too."

Pamela has been for an induction week at one of Blind Veterans UK's training centres in Sheffield and for holidays at other centres in Llandudno and Brighton. She has also received specialist training and equipment from the charity to allow her to continue to live as independently as possible.

She says, "Going for that initial week was so helpful. We were told about and trained on all sorts of equipment.

"The best piece of equipment Blind Veterans UK has given me is a talking reader. My daughter used to have to read my letters to me but now I'm back to doing it by myself.

"There's always someone there on the end of the phone and the staff at the charity are so helpful."

Pamela marched at the Cenotaph for the third time joining other vision-impaired ex-Service men and women supported by Blind Veterans UK as part of the national Remembrance Sunday commemorations on Sunday.

She adds, "Remembrance Sunday means a lot to me. It's a chance to remember friends who have died.

"This year was extra special for me as, not only was I be marching with Blind Veterans UK, but also with my lovely Grandson James."