Blind veteran Elizabeth Sharpe-Nelson

Elizabeth's story

Elizabeth Sharpe-Nelson served throughout the whole of the Battle of Britain as an Operations Officer in Fighter Command HQ.

 Elizabeth, who now lives at the Blind Veterans UK centre in Brighton, has talked about her memories of Fighter Command and the Battle of Britain.

"I was based at RAF Rudloe Manor which was the Headquarters for 10 Group Fighter Command and we were responsible for the airfields all over the area of the South West of England.

"I always ask people to imagine a big room with a raised level looking down onto the floor with a huge map of our area. This map showed where the enemy and allied aircraft were and how they were moving.

"Reports would come in from across the region as to where the enemy aircraft were approaching and how many they were from the Raid Recognition Officer. It was then up to the Controller to decide how many of our planes were sent out to fight.

"My job as Operations Officer was to make sure there was a proper record of the entire process at 10 Group Headquarters for Fighter Command."

Elizabeth, who was only 20-years-old at the start of the Battle of Britain, also remembers how she felt about the pilots they were sending out at that time.

"Of course, at HQ I had no contact with any of the airfields or the pilots that we were sending out. I would always think about these young men, many of them the same age as me, in their Hurricanes and Spitfires and the quick, life or death, decisions they had to take.

"My thought was that they would do the right thing and come home safely but unfortunately of course, many of them didn't."

Elizabeth began receiving help and support from Blind Veterans UK in 2009 after developing Glaucoma later in life. She lives at the Blind Veterans UK centre in Brighton and recently attended the charity's Centenary garden party at Buckingham Palace. Elizabeth was also recently involved with sending our patron, the Queen a birthday card for her 90th birthday.

"I met Her Majesty in 1971 when she invested me with my M.B.E in Australia. It's amazing that 45 years later we've been given the opportunity to make her birthday card from such a wonderful organisation in Blind Veterans UK."