Tributes paid to wartime gunner and mother-of-three who fought to keep Portsmouth safe

Dorothy 'Dot' Watson in the Auxiliary Territorial Service
Dorothy 'Dot' Watson in the Auxiliary Territorial Service
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TRIBUTES have been paid following the death of a gunner who battled to keep Portsmouth safe during the Second World War.

After witnessing a dramatic bombing raid of King’s Cross Station in London in 1941, Dorothy ‘Dot’ Watson knew she wanted to join the army and fight the good fight.

Aged 18 at the time, she did just that – joining the Auxiliary Territorial Service as a troop of the 160 Heavy Ack Ack Regiment, which saw her posted to the Sinah gun site on Hayling Island.

It was here she spent three years as part of a crack team of so-called ‘ATS girls’, who laid guns and shot down enemy planes.

Now, Mrs Watson’s daughter, 62-year-old Lori Ellisdon, has paid tribute to her mother’s life – after she died on Christmas Day, aged 96.

Mrs Ellisdon, who lives in Bushey in Hertfordshire, said: ‘Mum was so proud of her time with the ATS and her service led to her making lots of good friends on Hayling Island.

‘If I had to sum her up, I would say she was absolutely lovely. She was a happy woman and she was the life and soul of the party. I’m very sad to see her go.’

During her time on Hayling Island – where she lived until the death of her husband, Ernie – Mrs Watson mingled in various social circles.

She made friends at the island’s British Legion and joined crafting and painting clubs.

Among the pals she made at these groups, Lori says, the loss of her mother will be greatly felt.

She said: ‘She will really be missed. My mum was always active in the community and she was a very sociable lady.’

Mrs Watson, who was born on June 4, 1921, leaves behind six grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and her three children – Lori, Roger and Michael.

Her funeral will take place at 11am on Thursday, January 11 at West Herts Crematorium in Watford.

Anyone who would like to attend should contact Lori via email, on lori@asmu.com.