Remembering the role of women in war

June 6 marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the day in 1944 when Allied forces in World War II invaded France from offshore, resulting in the largest seaborne invasion in history.

Wednesday, 5th June 2019, 1:41 pm

Millions of men were involved in the World War Two war effort, with many of those involved in D-Day itself - but women also played crucial roles in the historic day of June 6 1944.

June Denby, aged 95 from Sherburn-in-Elmet, was a Driver during World War Two, following in the footsteps of her army father.

“In those days you didn’t need to pass a driving test, you had to have L-plates, as the test was suspended from 1939.

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“I tried to join the Flying Corps and the Wrens but I was too young for both, you had to be 18-and-a-half, so I went to Droitwich and did my basic training.

“I did ambulance driving and lorry driving, and then I said I’d like to go abroad if needed, so was sent to London where I drove people from the War Office before going to Virginia Water in April 1944, taking officers to various camps – we never knew where we were going.”

Ms Denby, who explains that “we knew right from the outset that D-Day was coming,” notes that in regards to her being a female driver: “Being a woman didn’t make any difference, we were all drivers, I don’t feel I stood out particularly, drivers were drivers.

“I remember being in convoys where there were only two or three women, but it didn’t matter.

“I don’t think we ever really considered or realised what a contribution we were making, we just took it for granted.”

Ms Denby, who also worked in Normandy during the war, has been taken back to France as part of a trip with the Royal British Legion.

The former driver added: “There weren’t many women in Normandy and it often surprises other veterans when they see my medals, so it’s lovely that the Legion are able to arrange this trip and I feel I’m being recognised for my contribution.”