Molly’s Story – Life in the Army

Now Molly heads for a very active life in the Army!


  • After leaving the air force she joined the army and did basic training at Aldershot. She then did another course of training to become a PT Instructor. She was an acting sergeant in the WAAF, which later became the WRAC’s.
  • Following her initial training as a Physical Training Instructor, Molly was stationed at Queen Victoria Hospital in Nettley in Southampton.  It was a rehabilitation hospital.  These are some of things she remembered about her experience: They were given a skeleton to study anatomy, but she couldn’t remember the Latin words for all the bones; Each night, the other soldiers put the skeleton on Molly’s chair with a red heart attached to it. Molly also attended a post-mortem for the first time while she was there; the Coroner told all the students that if they couldn’t cope they should go out and when he had finished, Molly was the only one left standing.

While she was there she went to sea for the first time.


The Netball Team


The Cricket Team

Table Tennis

The Table Tennis Team with Molly, as the Coach, standing in the middle

Corporal Stripes

Molly with her Corporal stripes and the crossed swords insignia of the Physical Training Instructors

  • Molly had always been a good swimmer. She was taught by her Mum and Dad, who were themselves good at swimming. They promised her, if she learned to swim and tell the time, they would buy her a new swimming costume and that’s what got her started. Whilst serving as a WRAC, she went swimming in the North Sea and swam one mile every day. She swam for Western Command and won a cup for breaststroke and also for the relay race and the medley race.  Her mother kept them in the front room of her house.


Sitting on boat

Molly posing on a boat on a beach somewhere in the Baltic.  Now you can see why she was called “Legs 11”!


  • She went on a course in Holland and had to sleep on pallias’s which were bags of straw.  The girls were all expected to “rough it and not to complain”.  But when she found the men had beds she kicked up a fuss.
  • In 1955 she was in the Royal Tournament, dancing with hoops in a routine called “Step in Music”.

Royal Tournament Certificate



Molly is in the second row from the front, third along from the right

  • Whilst at the Royal Tournament, she was part of the Guard of Honour for the Queen. When they marched out of the arena, they had to remain in full formation backstage until they were dismissed and at that point, all the waiting soldiers had water pistols and soaked them all with water. The video is of the tournament a year later
  • On another occasion she was an invited guest at the Duke of Connaught’s home which was used as an army training centre in Virginia Water.  She and her colleagues were very well looked after when they stayed there and everyone had their own butler to look after them.


bagshot park


  • Later she moved to Scotland and was the only PT Instructor in Scotland when she moved to Edinburgh Castle. She remembers having to exercise all the army cooks because they had bad feet from standing up all day. They also had some prisoners to train.

Army group

This is a group photograph at the Territorial Army Training Centre at Rhyl, North Wales.  Molly is on the back row in the dark training suit and she was responsible for physical training of around 100 girls


She left the army in 1956 and the final episode tomorrow is all about her family life!


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