Havant Wren who helped support D-Day forces dies aged 97

Peggy Johnson
Peggy Johnson
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IN her long and active life she signed up to the Wrens, helped protect the Isle of Wight and trained D-Day forces during the Second World War, looked after HMS Warrior – and was a vintage car enthusiast.

Peggy Johnson, who lived in Havant but was originally from Gosport, died at Queen Alexandra Hospital on her 97th birthday, on May 23.

Peggy Johnson

Peggy Johnson

The mum-of-four and grandmother of 10 spent six years in the Women’s Royal Navy Service (WRNS) during the Second World War and afterwards spent time volunteering for charities.

She was born Peggy Ellicott in Gosport on May 23, 1921 and was educated at Peel School in the town.

She went on to study shorthand and typing at Daley’s Commercial Academy, in Portsmouth, where she went on to get a job at JRC Miller Solicitors, in Southsea.

The day after the outbreak of the Second World War, she joined the WRNS. Months later in January, she was promoted to Leading Wren and advanced to Petty Officer, serving on HMS Excellent.

In February 1942 she trained as a Third Officer before being promoted to Second Officer and posted to HMS Vectis on the Isle of Wight.

Peggy was involved in work to secure the island’s defences and then, in 1944 in supporting the training and build-up of forces for D-Day.

She was posted back to Portsmouth in January 1945, and in May married Joseph Johnson, who later became a Lieutenant Commander.

She was discharged at the end of hostilities in August.

After the war Peggy and Joe moved into a cottage in Swanmore and had four children, Peter, David, John and Jane.

David said: ‘Mum would make a new home wherever dad was posted and settle the family in as quickly as possible.

‘When their travels were over they retired back to Swanmore and resumed a more country way of life.

‘Mum would often attend auctions and equip and decorate the home with her finds.

‘She was a willing participant in the many vintage car events that dad would attend with his 1930s Morris Minor and even hosted car club events in the garden.’

Following the death of Joe in 1985, Peggy sold the cottage and moved to Havant to be closer to her sister Doris.

She became involved in helping the NSPCC and in volunteering as a helper on HMS Warrior. David added: ‘She loved to get the brass on Warrior as bright as the brass ornaments that had previously gleamed in her cottage.’

Peggy continued living in her Havant home until March when she fell and was admitted to QA Hospital.