A life lived in colour
Stoll resident and former WREN Mollie Macartney (pictured centre) – still an action woman at 94!
Mollie Macartney, 94, is a Stoll resident, avid horse rider and very fond of taking an annual flying lesson on her birthday each year. Mollie served in the Boat Crew as a WREN (Women’s Royal Naval Service) for four years during the Second World War, taking supplies to the Navy from Plymouth. Her job was to look after the electrics and fuel of the ships that took supplies out to the warships.
Although Mollie had seen many disturbing things during the war, her most terrifying experience was when she was tasked with setting out on a small motorboat with a fellow member of the Boat Crew to deliver a letter to Winston Churchill, who was aboard the HMS King George V (KG5.)
Mollie remembers the experience: ‘We went out very far and it was pitch black. The moon wasn’t even out. When we got to the battleship there was a sailor waiting to take the message up a rope ladder, back on board the ship. And that was it. We had to get back in complete darkness. Thankfully my colleague was very good with a compass! It was the only time during the war that I felt truly scared.’
The time I spent serving my country were the best years of my life
Mollie has recently taken part in two days of filming with the BBC, where she went on a hack in the Cotswolds and also on her annual flying trip, taking to the air in an original Second World War plane. She says: ‘During the war I saw women flying in the RAF and wished I had signed up. England is so beautiful from that height. So at the age of 70 I decided to take it up.’
Mollie goes on to remember D-Day with bittersweet feelings. ‘I know it may sound strange but the time I spent serving my country were the best years of my life. When the war ended we knew we should be happy but we also knew that all the men were going to come back and reclaim their jobs, the jobs that we loved doing. We weren’t given a choice, we were discharged and that was it.’
Mollie is now an avid Bridge player and is adamant that she will continue to pursue her two great passions: riding and flying.
Find out more
Stoll has been providing support to the Veteran community for more than 100 years and is here to support the next generation of Veterans. For more information about finding a home with Stoll or accessing support, please visit www.stoll.org.uk or call the Outreach Team on 020 7385 2110.
Stoll’s drop-in runs every second Wednesday of the month at its Fulham site (see above), in the Community Hall