Tribute to World War Two soldier Nora who risked all – and paid with her life

A Walsden girl who became the first female soldier to be killed during combat in World War Two is to be remembered in a new book.

Nora Caveney was just 18 when she perished at the hands of German bombers on April 17, 1942.

She was serving with the Anti-Aircraft Command in Southampton at the time, operating the specialist Predictor computers which monitored enemy planes approaching Britain so gunners across the country could be alerted.

Historian Richard Doherty said: "She is a person who has been greatly overlooked in history and frankly, any account of women in the war really must include her – it's only because we know so little about Nora that they don't."

Now Mr Doherty, who has had 17 books published on World War Two, will pay tribute to Nora in his new text, Ubique: The Royal Artillery In The Second World War.

He said: "Where she was serving, in this unit, she was as close as women could get to the front line at this time.

"Just by working at base, which was so vital to Britain defeating the Luftwaffe, Nora was risking life and limb for King and country. There's no other way to interpret it."

He added the teenager, who would almost certainly have lied about her age to have been accepted into the 148th (Mixed) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, would have been one of the first women in the post.

It was only opened up to female recruits part way through the Second World War.

"She would have had to be extremely intelligent to have worked the machines and it seems, at that age with her obvious ambition, if she could have mastered a foreign language, she may one day have become a Special Opera-tions Executive, like Violette Szabo."

Although Private Caveney is buried at Netley Military Cemetery in Southampton, little else is known about her except her parents were John and Hannah Caveney, of Walsden.

"This girl has gone unremembered for far too long – and what I'm hoping is there might be someone in the Walsden or Todmorden area who knows more, perhaps even has a picture," Mr Doherty said.

Anyone with information can contact the Courier on 01422 260208.


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