Annie, known as ‘Nanza’, was born in Campsie Glen, north of Glasgow. In 1943 she was conscripted into the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) and trained as a Wireless Operator, picking up Morse code messages which were passed to Alan Turing’s team at Bletchley Park, including during the D-Day campaign. When Nanza needed care in her later years, Royal Star & Garter, a charity that we proudly fund, stepped in and she is now living happily in its Solihull care home for veterans.

Nanza was called up to the ATS aged 20 and trained as a Wireless Operator in the Isle of Man, where she learned the Morse Code alphabet. She then served in Harrogate, often working 12-hour shifts, intercepting enemy Enigma-encrypted messages for onward transmission to Alan Turing’s team of Bletchley Park codebreakers, including during the 1944 D-Day landings.

Nanza vividly remembers her ATS service: “I didn’t know the messages were going to Bletchley. I just knew they were going somewhere. It was years later that I learned they went to Bletchley. We knew a lot of it was very hush hush but that it was important and useful to the British Army.” In 2010, Prime Minister David Cameron sent a signed certificate of gratitude to Nanza for her “vital” wartime service.

In 1945, Nanza’s fiancé, a RAF Navigator, was shot down over Germany and became a prisoner of war.  As Nanza recalls: “I was working when I got the news. But you just got on with it. There were a lot of women in the same position. We didn’t get compassionate leave or see a counsellor.”

When the war ended in 1945, Nanza left the Army and started a family. In her later years, after her husband passed away in 2008, she increasingly needed care, which proved difficult for her daughter, Linda. Our partner charity, Royal Star & Garter, which provides tailored specialist care to elderly Army veterans, stepped in after Linda contacted them.

Linda was relieved about her mum’s new care arrangements: “It was like a great weight lifted off me. I can’t tell you how lucky I feel to have found Royal Star & Garter. I can come and visit and we can have a mother-daughter relationship; a friendship where we enjoy one another’s company.”

Nanza says: “I enjoy my daughter coming to see me, the chats we have and the things we do together. I’m very happy.”