First English woman to receive US Air Force medal dies (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Doris Lilian Elsegood of Walthamstow died in Woodford, aged 93
The first British woman to receive the highest civilian honour from the United States Airforce has died aged 93.
Doris Lilian Elsegood, nee Lovell, was born on June 9, 1920, at 71 Parkside in Walthamstow.
She died peacefully in her sleep at Harts House nursing home in Woodford Green having suffered from Alzheimer’s.
She was schooled at Woodford Green Junior School and then The William Morris School in Walthamstow.
When World War II broke out she was evacuated with her job to Ashbourne in Derbyshire, aged 19, where she met George Elsegood, a Household Cavalry solider, at a dance.
While he was on leave from service in Egypt they married on May 26 1942 at the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Lourdes in Wanstead.
The pair enjoyed 61 years of marriage before George died in 2003.
Mrs Elsegood's whole career was spent in the military, starting as a pool typist for the Ministry of Defence before postings including RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath.
She retired after 31 years of service.
When the war ended they moved to Littleport in Cambridgeshire, George’s childhood home, where they spent most of their lives.
On 21 October 1980 General Robert W Bazley presented her with the Meritorious Civilian Service Award medal, the highest civilian honour that can be accorded by the United States Air Force, for her devotion to duty and untiring efforts, and many successful achievements of the RAF Lakenheath accounting and finance office.
Special permission had to be obtained to give the award to a non-US citizen.
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