Nina Ansell, a resident at Zetland Court, in Bournemouth, has celebrated her 101st birthday. To mark the special milestone, Nina enjoyed a small gathering and was presented with a cake and flowers sent by her son in Australia.
Nina, who was born on 22 September 1921, turned 18 three weeks after the Second World War was declared. She worked in a wholesale gown department in London with her mother during that period. However, when the Blitz broke out in 1940, she was evacuated out of the city and joined the Women’s Royal Naval Service (known as the Wrens) in Portsmouth.
Nina Ansell in her Wren uniform during World War Two.
Portsmouth was heavily bombed in those days, so Nina moved again to Leydene House, in Hampshire, where the Naval Signals School was established. Nina worked there and handled the documents of the Operation Chastise, the code name for the raid that destroyed two dams in the Ruhr valley, Germany.
Nina’s Wren discharge letter, dated 2nd October 1945.
Before retiring in the 1980s, Nina had several other jobs. When she married her husband, they both became self-employed in the catering business and ran a tearoom, where they made cakes for weddings, which were rationed after the war. Years later, they managed post offices in Southampton and Blackfield, where Nina set up one of the first self-service supermarket stores in the country. In Bournemouth, she managed the Yvery Hotel in Knyveton Road for three years before retiring.
Nina moved into Zetland Court in November 2018, where she has become an active member of the community. When asked about how to have a long life, Nina said:
Hard work and a good wine is the secret to reach my age!
Karen Casey, one of the Home’s Activities Coordinators, said:
Nina is an amazing woman. She’s kind and gentle, and has a naughty sense of humour!
[Summary: Nina Ansell, a resident at Zetland Court, in Bournemouth, has celebrated her 101st birthday. Born on 22 September 1921, Nina turned 18 three weeks after the Second World War was declared. During the war, she handled the documents of the famous Operation Chastise, the code name for the raid that destroyed two dams in the Ruhr valley, Germany.]