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Lady Pamela Biggs-Davison

Discussion in 'WWII Obituaries' started by GRW, Feb 9, 2018.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
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    Stirling, Scotland
    "Lady Pamela Biggs-Davison, codebreaker. Born: 2 April, 1924, London. Died 11 December, 2017 in Wootton Courtenay, Somerset, aged 93. Pamela Biggs-Davison was one of the unsung heroes ofthe Second World War, who worked behind the scenes helping to shorten the war and minimise casualties by cracking German and Japanese cyphers at Bletchley Park. However, because of The Official Secrets Act, her family knew nothing of the vital work she did for over half a century. She later became a stalwart of support to her husband Sir John, a Conservative MP for over 30 years and a leading supporter of Northern Ireland’s union with Great Britain. Born in Chelsea, London, in 1924, Pamela Mary Hodder-Williams was the daughter and eldest child of four to Ralph, her father and the chairman of Hodder and Stoughton, the publishers, and her mother, Marjorie, one of the first women to attend the University of Toronto in Canada. Pamela’s father had been lucky as he had ‘only’ been wounded but survived the bloody First World War battle of Passchendaele near Ypres in Belgium, in 1917, where over 550,000 men from both sides were killed or wounded. He received the MC.
    Before the outbreak of the Second World War, the family moved to Duddings, a manor house near Exmoor where they were relatively closeted from the war and the horrors of the Blitz, although Pamela recalled seeing the odd Luftwaffe aircraft, and once having to evade one as it swooped down spraying bullets where she was playing. She jumped into a nearby river and hid under a bridge. Growing up with her siblings, she enjoyed riding and music, in particular singing, and spent many hours in the company of Lady Munnings, wife of Sir Alfred, the fashionable equine artist, who lived close by. While visiting friends in Somerset in 1941, Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham, then Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet, and later Admiral of the Fleet, suggested that Pamela apply to join the Women’s Royal Naval Service, also known as the Wrens. She agreed and he made the arrangements. Following interview and a medical at Exeter, she was accepted, aged 17.
    Soon she found herself working at Gayhurst Court, an Elizabethan country house in Buckinghamshire, in what was an outstation for Bletchley Park’s decoding activities. For two years she was one of the girls of C Watch, the codebreakers for the famous German Enigma machine, before being promoted to Leading Wren and posted to Bletchley Park itself."
  2. Coder

    Coder Member

    Jan 15, 2009
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    The heading "Lady Pamela ..." purports to describe the activities of the daughter of a senior peer (Duke, Marquis or Earl), to whom alone is reserved the honorific "Lady (forename)".

    It appears from the text that her father was never ennobled at all, let alone a senior peer. Therefore, in no way was she "Lady Pamela".

    Her honorific "Lady",derived from her being the wife of,a knight, Sir John Biggs-Davison, making her "Lady Biggs-Davison".

    She could also be described as "Pamela Biggs-Davison", "Pamela, Lady Biggs-Davison", or even "Lady (Pamela) Biggs-Davison", but never "Lady Pamela Biggs-Davison".

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