Edinburgh gran, 95, finally awarded World War II medal
Patsy Mundie’s story began when she was just 19-years-old, her husband had been sent to Burma after only 10 days of marriage and the country was in the clutches of war.
Patsy, who lives in Edinburgh, said she was keen to join in the war effort at the outset, first offering her service in the Land Army.
The war began to change the landscape around Patsy, who was born in Essex, and the village where she lived was “taken over” by soldiers.
“We called them the Scotch Boys,” she laughed. It was a moment that would define the rest of her life. “And I fell in love with one of the officers.”
Patsy married Douglas Mundie, an officer from Edinburgh who was in the Royal Artillery, in 1941. She recalled the second defining moment of her early years. “Somebody asked me if I would drive for a gentleman who had Multiple Sclerosis. He was an important scientist at Marconis.”
The gentleman was Thomas L Eckersley, a British theoretical physicist whose instrumental work on direction finding and radar was recognised internationally.
She then applied to the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry who were in need of drivers. But interviewers in London persuaded Patsy in another direction. “I was told to stand outside a second-hand shop on a street in London and wait to be picked up and taken somewhere. So I said goodbye to my folks and set off. I remember that moment so well.
“It was in May and it was freezing …We had to scrub floors and peel potatoes and we did all this without knowing what for or why. Most dropped out but I stuck it out for the ten days.”
Patsy was then recruited into the Special Operations Executive as a Cipher.
After she demobbed in 1945, Douglas returned and they moved up to Edinburgh and forgot about the war. She had three sons – Ian, Hamish and Angus – and daughter Fiona.
And despite seven happy decades in Edinburgh, the post-war years have not been without tragedy. “I lost my husband when he was just 58 and my beloved son Angus when he was 50.
“I’ve been a widow for 46 years. Losing him was awful but losing a son was even worse. He was an airline pilot and he had a brain tumour.”
It was one proud grandchild, Simon Mundie, who has helped his grandmother get the War Medal 1939-1945 World War 2 – awarded to all full-time personnel during the campaign.
He said: “Gran is an amazing woman, a real inspiration to all her grandkids.”