Connections

The National Museum of Computing has published the Youtube presentation that I gave about Dora back in June. My talk covered her whole life but TNMOC were particularly interested in the Second World War and the Bletchley Park connection. It’s about an hour long including questions.

I have made some interesting connections by going through Dora’s address book from 1982. In among the chimney sweep, the dentist and local friends are some names from her past. I tried looking up some of them and succeeded in finding Wikipedia pages, military and naval records and even books that these people had written. Captain Eric Wheeler Bush (1899-1985), for example, was a naval contemporary of Captain John Metcalf‘s. He wrote several books and I bought a copy of his autobiography Bless Our Ship to learn more about him and his career. It turns out that he was in the same flotilla of battleships as John, that landed troops at Gallipoli in April 1915.

John Metcalf was on board HMS Triumph

I also found a friend of Dora’s who was a young woman embarking on her career at Leeds University in 1975. Her father was a great friend of Captain Jack Boord, Dora’s nephew’s father in law. I spoke to Antonia who remembered Dora fondly, as an inspirational, supportive friend. She recalled an anecdote that, in 1913, Dora had been interviewed for the role of secretary to David Lloyd George (UK Prime minister 1916-22 and Chancellor at that time), a post that went to Frances Stevenson (1888-1972), who became Lloyd George’s mistress and later his second wife. Dora felt she’d had a lucky escape, as being his mistress was part of the ‘conditions of service’ for the job! She remained a lifelong friend of Frances. I suspect that their connection began when Dora was a junior mistress at Allenswood Academy, where Lloyd George’s daughter Megan was a student and Frances was her governess.

I have been trying to track down descendants of Dora’s cousin Everard Greene. His daughter (Grace) Venetia (1909-90), married Dr John Frederic Loader Walley (1909-79) of Wadeford, near Chard in Somerset. They had a daughter called Diana Eunice who married an American called Arthur Begelman and emigrated to Virginia but I haven’t been able to get any further. Everard’s daughter Margaret Elizabeth (1912-82) married Commander John Dudley Birch RD DSC (1905-85), who latterly lived at Chorleywood, Herts. Dora also had Peter and Mary Birch in her address book, who I think are the next generation down, but I can’t get any further. Mary Felicity (1916-?) married Vivian Leslie Thompson in 1940. Everard’s son Alfred David (1921-2006) married Jean Linford and lived in Northwood, London. If anyone has any clues to living descendants, I’d love to hear from you!

Published by Mary276

I am an osteopath and author of a memoir of my father, Stranger In My Heart (Unbound, 2018). My debut novel, Power On, is based on the true story of my great aunt, Dora Metcalf, the first female tech entrepreneur.

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