Hilda Graty

Photo:Hilda (left) and friend pictured in their ATS uniforms.

Hilda (left) and friend pictured in their ATS uniforms.

Hilda Lynas

Wartime memories of life in the ATS.

Hilda Graty (nee Lynas) was born in Leeds in February 1917. She was employed at Schofield’s Store until 1939, when she married Douglas Gordon Stanley on 5th August of that year. The couple had plans to spend their honeymoon on a cruise aboard the SS Orford but were unable to do so as the war broke out.


Hilda’s husband joined the RASC and was posted to Richmond, before being billeted abroad. She decided to join the ATS and was transferred to London.  

She undertook training at Kensington Telephone Exchange, and joined the East Surrey Regiment as a switchboard operator, stationed at Kingston upon Thames. Sleeping quarters were in Richmond Park and one night she fell out of bed due to the force of a falling bomb. Raids were heavy around the area, causing substantial damage to local shops and houses.

When the East Surrey Regiment moved to Canterbury Hilda was transferred initially to the Coldstream Guards where she worked at the Purbright telephone exchange, then to the Scots Guards where she was promoted to Lance Corporal. Hilda later re-trained for the Corps of Signals at Kingston Hill. She learnt all aspects of communication and was trained at bomb disposal. After passing her exams she was billeted to Nissan Huts in the grounds of Fishbourne Hall in Chichester, where she undertook duties in the Ops room.


Hilda returned to Leeds on 15th July 1943 as her mother had suffered a stroke – Hilda was therefore unable to accept a post volunteering in the Middle East, and missed the opportunity to meet with her husband in Cairo. Sadly he was killed by a German sniper on 15th July 1943 – his 23rd birthday.

After returning to Chichester, Hilda was posted to West Wickham in Bromley, where she worked with security, before moving to the Ops Room. Whilst in the Royal Corps Signals Hilda was based at Biggin Hill and had to shelter in Chiselhurst Caves during raids.

Hilda was discharged from the army in 1944, having served for five years. In 1945 she married her second husband John.


Hilda Graty
Hilda Graty (48k)
To read more about Hilda's wartime experiences in her own words please press the above link.

This page was added by Malin Lundin on 23/01/2012.