When Beatrice was twelve years old she was evacuated on September 1st 1940 directly from her school premises via Forest Gate Station. She was unable to say goodbye to her mother before leaving her home for good.
By the time she was sixteen Beatrice began working at the post office in London, working behind the counter and learning teleprinting techniques. This would be a useful skill for her future.
Realising their was more money to be made in a different establishment, she moved to Fleet Street and began working for American Correspondence as a teleprinter operator.
One day (which would later be known as VE Day) Beatrice was ordered to take down a message at a kiosk, which was sent from Tass of the Russian Press Agency. He told her: “Flash, flash, flash – Germany has surrendered!”.
Beatrice typed the message up, and sent a boy runner to deliver the message to her editor, Ernest Agnew. He sent a direct cable straight to New York.
Beatrice’s quick reactions allowed them to be the first to break the news that the war was over, publishing the story before any other printers. She was paramount in letting the world know that the war was over.
Beatrice continued to work until 11pm that evening, due to the high volume of messages coming through. She said she remembers the roaring of the celebrations in Trafalgar Square, which she could hear from her workplace.
*We wanted to thank Beatrice for choosing to share her story with us on VE Day and wanting to share her amazing recollections with the public via our website. We love telling our residents stories and it humbles us that they trust us to represent a part of their life in this way*