Littleport community spirited character dies at the age of 93

Doris Elsegood with her husband George Doris Elsegood with her husband George

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
11:56 AM

A Littleport character, who was the first English woman to receive a prestigious medal from the American airforce, has died at the age of 93.

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Doris and George Elsegood on their wedding dayDoris and George Elsegood on their wedding day

The funeral of Doris Elsegood will be held on April 15 at noon at St Etheldreda Catholic Church, Ely, followed by interment at Littleport Cemetery.

The USA Meritorious Civil Service Medal is the highest civilian honour which can be accorded by the United States Air Force and was given to Mrs Elsegood for her professional work at RAF Lakenheath and Mildenhall.

She was also a Vice President in the British Legion who are providing standard bearers as a guard of honour at her funeral.

London born Mrs Elsegood began her career as a pool typist for the Ministry of Defence and at the age of 19 when the Second World War broke out was evacuated with her job to Derbyshire.

Doris Elsegood is presented with her USA Meritorious Civil Service medal by Major General Robert Bazley in 1980Doris Elsegood is presented with her USA Meritorious Civil Service medal by Major General Robert Bazley in 1980

There she met George Elsegood at a dance who was a soldier in the Household Cavalry.

Their relationship flourished and on leave from war service in Egypt they married in 1942.

When the war ended they moved to Littleport, where George grew up. They lived at Parsons Lane for most of their lives.

Mr Elsegood left the army and worked as an agricultural farmer. He was a superb Cornet player and conducted a number of UK and international brass bands including Littleport, Lakenheath, March and Forest Heath Bands. He was also bandmaster of both Littleport and March bands.

This took the couple to many countries, making numerous international friends.

Mrs Elsegood spent her whole career working with the Military. She was very secretive about the majority of her work.

Her last postings were at RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath.

In 1949 she worked with the Army Air Corp at the Ely ration distribution point until it closed in 1960 where she started as a shorthand typist.

In 1956 she became an executive officer in the Commissary Stock Fund department with responsibilities for Alconbury.

She worked her way up the ranks and in 1960 she moved to RAF Lakenheath where she held several positions in the civil engineering stock account department and in the security police squad.

By 1976 she was one of the highest female ranking civil servants having been promoted to the Chief Commissary Stock Fund and remained in that post until her retirement in the 1980s.

In October 1980 Major General Bazley presented Doris with the Meritorious Civil Service medal.

She was the first English person to receive this American Award and special permissions had to be obtained.

This is the highest civilian honour that can be given by the US Airforce.

She was involved in many things from flower arranging to pottery, decorating vehicles for charity parades, manning stalls at the Littleport Shows, collecting door to door for various charities, and the British Legion.

In 1954 she was a founder member of Littleport Royal British Legion Womens Section rising in later years to County Vice President.

After 61 years of marriage her husband George died in 2003.

Since 2004 she lived in Vera James House Ely and later Clovelly House Nursing home in March, then to Harts House BUPA Nursing home in Woodford.

She passed away peacefully in her sleep aged 93 on March 26.

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