Interview with Frances Elizabeth Secker


Interview with Frances Elizabeth Secker


Frances Elizabeth Secker is a lifelong resident of Feltwell. She was still at school when RAF Feltwell opened in 1937, and she remembers the Harrow being the first aircraft to arrive, followed by Wellingtons.

Elizabeth has clear memories of attending dances and the cinema at both RAF Feltwell and RAF Methwold, along with her friend Pam. She was employed as a waitress in the local fish and chip shop, which brought her into direct contact with the New Zealand airmen stationed at nearby RAF Methwold. The airmen’s love of egg and chips is a particularly fond memory. She had several boyfriends, but nothing too serious. Open trucks and coaches full of aircrew being transported to and from RAF Methwold is another memory that has stayed with her.

She didn’t meet her husband to be until 1947 after he was posted to RAF Methwold to retrain in air traffic control. They met when she cycled with her friend to Brandon fair. Charlie had been a rear gunner. His crew was made up of a New Zealand pilot, Flight Lieutenant Keen, two Canadians, Flight Lieutenants Brown and King, along with Flight Sergeants Spillsby, Elms and Smith. The crew were a close-knit unit and they carried out 31 operation, and remained in contact long after the war.

His spoke fondly about his favourite aircraft, Q for Queenie, but he did not talk about his operations. Elizabeth only discovered his logbook after Charlie’s death. His only comment about his experiences came when an item on Germany made the news, and he would indicate that he knew where the location was. She does remember Charlie told her he had his first cigarette after the aircraft crashed at RAF Mepal. Charlie demobbed in 1950 and was then employed by Peal Assurance.

Elizabeth also worked on the land. Planting potatoes by machine, but picking by hand. She also helped at harvest time. Cycling to the fields where all the heavy work was carried out by horses.
Her friend Pam married Ted King. She was quite young, and although Pam and Ted moved around, they remained in contact throughout their lives until Pam passed away. Elizabeth worked at the chip shop throughout her life until her retirement.



IBCC Digital Archive




Ian Whapplington


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00:20:07 audio recording





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Denise Boneham, “Interview with Frances Elizabeth Secker,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed October 21, 2020,

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