Marjorie Beveridge’s memory may be waning, but her recollection of working as a chauffeur in London during the Second World War is vivid.
She narrowly missed a German V-2 rocket while driving an ambulance — an event during her service that marked her for life.
“The bomb dropped and everything was blown to pieces, but miraculously, no one was killed, and I was saved by two seconds. That, I do remember,” Beveridge says.
“I had to drive the AVM, Air Vice-Marshall McKinnon. I didn’t want to drive him, I wanted to drive the trucks. But he said, ‘I want Beveridge to drive me. I can sleep when she drives me.’ So of course, I had to do it,” she continues.
Beveridge, who turns 100 this week, was born in NDG and now lives at the Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue veterans’ hospital. She and her daughter Joan Beveridge attended a Remembrance Day memorial there on Sunday.
Beveridge says she signed up to serve in the war with her sister, Aida, in 1942. Her husband Howard also served as an intelligence officer for the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Even so, she says she has fond memories of another man and was thinking of him during Sunday’s ceremony.
“The Aussie I fell in love with. He was killed,” Beveridge says. “He was shot down — I’ll never forget that.”
Joan has to remind her mother that she’s turning 100 this week, and Beveridge says she doesn’t feel any differently on the eve of the monumental occasion. Instead, she met the idea of sitting with reporters on the subject of her birthday with sarcasm, Joan says.
“She said, ‘Well, if I’m going to be famous, it better be soon.”