One hundred years old and fighting fit: Ann looks back on a life rich with naval history

Ann Ward celebrated her 100th birthday on Monday 



PICTURE: Mecha Morton
Ann Ward celebrated her 100th birthday on Monday PICTURE: Mecha Morton

Getting on as normal is the key to a long and happy life – so says Ann Ward, whose life and family has been rich in naval history.

Mrs Ward was born in Buckinghamshire. Now a resident of Diss, Mrs Ward said she and her siblings moved around a lot when she was a child, due to her father being an Admiral in the Royal Navy.

I’m the first in my family to reach 100

Ann Ward

She added: “I have had family connections in Diss for about 200 years. My great grandfather also built the Corn Hall in Diss.”

Mrs Ward was to follow in her father’s footsteps and joined the Woman’s Royal Naval Service in 1940, where she was a secretary to the intelligence officer of the Flag Officer Submarines.

“There wasn’t much sea-going for women when I joined,” Mrs Ward added.

But her service wasn’t just on home soil. After D-Day, Ann was transferred to Delhi to work with the Combined Services Group which planned attacks on the coast of Burma and Malalya.

Returning home, Mrs Ward married her husband, David, in 1954. Mr Ward had been a member of the Royal British Legion (RBL) and served in the Army.

Mrs Ward has been a long-standing member of the RBL’s Women’s Section – eventually becoming president. Her time ended when the Diss branched closed in 2016.

When asked about reaching 100, Mrs Ward said: “Its been rather overwhelming actually, receiving flowers and cards and all sorts.

“I’m the first in my family to reach 100. I have had family members who have come close. I’ve had the good fortune to be on my own two feet.”

Mrs Ward’s centenary has brought about much celebration.

On Monday, the Diss Branch of the RBL organised a party in her honour.

Mayor of Diss, councillor Trevor Wenman, was in attendance and Mrs Ward was presented with a certificate from the RBL by branch chairman Ralph Boone, acknowledging her service to the Legion.

Mrs Ward has three more parties planned, one with members of her family based in Starston.