We are sad to report that Helen Taylor Thompson died this week. Corps members met Helen at the D-Day 75 commemoration in Portsmouth last year, where she hugely impressed Prime Minister Trudeau. Subsequently Helen very kindly invited a number of FANYs to her 95th birthday party.
The following is a small piece that a Corps member wrote about the birthday party that gives some idea of Helen’s extraordinary character and determination:
"Do you know about "Ici Londres"? I nodded. "I really enjoyed my time there, it was great fun, mostly FANYs, and of course most of the time we knew which were the real messages and which ones weren't. The first time I read a real message my hand shook". In the moment it took for these words to sink in I suddenly realised that I was sitting beside a woman whose voice has been broadcasted from a small studio in the BBC to members of resistance and SOE agents across occupied Europe.
But perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised. On arriving embarrassingly late due to weather conditions and road closures Helen greeted us with the words "You're FANYs, of course you were going to make it, and besides we like adventure don't we?"
There is a unique comradeship between FANYs, and this applies no matter what age or FANY generation you belong to. Helen whose 95th birthday we had come to celebrate and who we were lucky enough to spend the next couple of hours with told us about her FANY career with extraordinary frankness and modesty. Her sense of purpose and drive was abundantly clear, as was that FANY characteristic to never take no for an answer, especially when you are determined to attend your brother's wedding, and a senior office won't sign off your release papers.
On more than one occasion talking about her work Helen told us "that you just got on with it". It is easy in the light of such modesty to forget or underestimate the extraordinary debt that we owe our veterans. I know that all of us have come away from spending time with Helen truly humbled and with a new FANY role model."
Helen's full obituary can be found in today's Daily Telegraph
Our condolences to Helen’s family.
We will remember them.